In victory at sea conditions Joel Parkinson emerged as master and commander of the first 2009 ASP Dream Tour event, the Quiksilver Pro 2009 on Australia’s Gold Coast. Meaty, three-metre cyclone surf made for a tricky final day, with grinding semi-close-outs pummelling the whole stretch of coast from Snapper Rocks to Kirra.
Contest organisers elected to hold the final day (the semis and the final) at the more protected Kirra, the only part of the beach that could handle the big wash-through sets and the raging southerly wind. And it was Parko’s local knowledge that shone through. Up against Brazilian young-gun Adriano DeSouza, Parkinson dominated the final from the start. Despite some powerful, precise and ballsy surfing from the Brazilian, it seemed Joel and Kirra had made a lover’s pact.
Near the end of the 40-minute final, DeSouza had clawed his way back into contention from a combination situation. He just needed a perfect 10-point ride to take the lead, and as outrageous as that may sound, it wasn’t at all unlikely. Only the heat before, in a frenzied home-town match-up between Parkinson and Mick Fanning, Parko had snagged a perfect 10 with a clean, long barrel followed by a huge cutback. The way Kirra was grinding, 10s were there for the taking.
But in the end it was Parko who found one, moments before the final hooter: dropping in with the lip, straight into a standup tube, disappearing for long enough for the commentators to wonder where he was, then emerging standing tall, with a slight slouch and a raised finger, as if to say, “I’m number one now”.
Finishing the event at Kirra was a neat touch after several weeks of campaigning by the Bring Back Kirra campaign, which reached its zenith at this event. Thankfully, just before the Quik Pro started politicians from both sides of the political divide agreed to work towards bringing back the old wave at Kirra, now covered in sand from the Tweed River bypass scheme.
“Where those huge crowds are standing,” said Martin Potter from the commentary box, “right about there is where you’d normally be getting barrelled at proper Kirra.” The beach is so huge these days that it’s said you need to take camping gear just to make the trek to the waters’ edge.
Parko’s victory seemed to nail down a latent feeling that the time has come for “proper” Kirra to be restored. A local hero (now leading the international rankings) completely dominating at the wave everyone’s been talking about, sure made for a fairy tale finish.