Billabong World Junior Championships
Parkinson Defeats Fanning To Reclaim World Junior Crown
jeudi 8 novembre 2001 –
Joel Parkinson. Photo : P.Tostee / ASP
Offshore 4-5 foot (1.5m) waves persisted throughout the morning at Kilcunda Beach, approx. 10-minutes drive from Phillip Island, with the entire contest setup, including surfers, judges, officials, media and spectators alike, all making the move.
Parkinson, 20, who accepted a wildcard position as the event’s top seed, was always a favorite. With one junior world title already to his credit and the most WCT experience in the field, many expected this result. Pitted against Fanning in the final, however, he was forced to elevate even his own act.
After only 30-seconds into the 35-minute decider, ’Parko’ picked off the best ride of the entire event to be rewarded a near-perfect 9.5 for his disappearing act within the wave’s barreling section, as well as the closeout re-entry and then weightless floater he executed. From there he waited patiently for his remaining scores, and even lost the lead, but eventually sealed victory with a 7.65 at the 30-minute mark.
"Thanks, yeah definitely," exclaimed Parkinson, upon exiting the water and hearing the comment it was a storybook finish to his junior career. Then, when asked about his amazing first wave, responded, "I actually paddled out before the final and a saw a good right-hander, so I knew I was looking for one of those. Then that set came and I got into it (laughs). When I heard 9.5 (announced) I was like, ’here we go !’ I thought I had a bit of a lead on him, but then he came back. I shouldn’t have ever thought I had Mick.
"I’d hate to say I have more experience than Mick ’cause he’s pretty incredible, but I’m happy with the man-on-man format and we’re going to be doing a lot more of it in the future," he added, since this was their first head-to-head clash. "It just won’t be for a world junior contest, that’s all (more laughs). I couldn’t ask for a better end to my junior career. Actually, I couldn’t have asked for a better junior career. It was pretty all-time. "I thought Mick would be in the finals as all the way through he was the man to beat," he continued. "I had a pretty tight semi, but I got there and gave it everything and am pretty stoked."
Fanning, the current runner-up on the World Qualifying Series (WQS) and winner of the year’s first WCT event as a wildcard, at nearby Bells Beach, appeared unstoppable throughout the tournament. The 20-year-old top scored during most rounds, which included the highest combined tally of 24.4-points in the fourth. He was equally dynamic on the left-handers he opted for during the final, but these proved not enough against Parkinson’s first right. "I saw him drop into it and thought, ’Oh, here we go,’" explained Fanning. "Then nothing else really came. I thought it would be possible to come back, but it took me half the heat to get that 7.65. I just couldn’t find anything better. "Yeah, at one point," he joked when it was pointed out he did hold the lead mid-way through. "As soon as he got the 9.5 I knew I had to get a couple of 8’s or something similar, but it didn’t happen. You get that, but I’m still stoked."
Finishing equal third today in the Billabong World Junior Championships and adding to the Australian domination was Kirk Flintoff and current two-time (2000 & ’01) Australasian Junior champ Adrian Buchan. Both 19-year olds have the chance of qualifying again in 2002 and possibly finishing even higher, especially given the absence of those who eliminated them this year. Flintoff was in fine form all week, giving Parkinson a good run for his money in the first semifinal. Despite utilizing the lefts on his forehand, the goofy footer required a 6.61 when the siren sounded. "I knew if I got the right waves and surfed well I had a chance of beating him, but it wasn’t the case," acknowledged Flintoff. "Parko surfed too well. He’s a hard one to beat, bit I’m still stoked with third."
Buchan, who seemed a dark horse for the title, following his decisive win over Dane Johnson (USA) in their quarterfinal this morning, also gave Fanning a real test in their semifinal. Being another goofy footer, he stuck to the lefts throughout and trailed, only to finally pick off a right at the end for his best score of 8.0. At this point he required another 7.51 to advance. "It’s a bit of shame not to make the final, but it just didn’t happen," said Buchan. "I didn’t use priority to my advantage a couple of times. To finish 3rd to Mick and Joel... I’m stoked. It’s been a great contest and I’m stoked to end up in the semifinals and lose to one of the best two surfers. "Hopefully next year I’ll be back and give it another shot," he continued. "This was the first time in a man-on-man format, so it was good experience."
Official Results of the 2001 Billabong World Junior Championships Final
1st Joel Parkinson (Aus) 23.55 - US$6,000
2nd Mick Fanning (Aus) 20.4 - $3,200
Semifinals (2nd place getter finishes equal 3rd and receives US$2,700)
SF1 : Joel Parkinson (Aus) 20.80 def. Kirk Flintoff (Aus) 19.4
SF2 : Mick Fanning (Aus) 22.25 def. Adrian Buchan (Aus) 20.4
Quarterfinals (2nd place getters finish equal 5th and receive US$1,400)
QF1 : Kirk Flintoff (Aus) 19.25 def. Pablo Gutierrez (Spn) 13.15
QF2 : Joel Parkinson (Aus) 20.0 def. Bruno Santos (Brz) 17.75
QF3 : Mick Fanning (Aus) 18.5 def. Sean Moody (Haw) 16.15
QF4 : Adrian Buchan (Aus) 21.05 def. Dane Johnson (USA) 15.7