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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, December 7, 2006

SURFING
Parkinson perfect in win

By Dayton Morinaga
Advertiser Staff Writer

Joel Parkinson

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Australia's Joel Parkinson found the perfect way to finish the O'Neill World Cup of Surfing.

He scored a perfect 10 in the final heat to win the contest yesterday at Sunset Beach.

After two weeks of subpar waves, Sunset Beach was at its best yesterday 6- to 12-foot waves, light winds and sunny skies. A crowd estimated to be around 5,000 throughout the day watched the quarterfinals, semifinals and final.

"It was perfect Sunset," Parkinson said. "Couldn't ask for a better day."

The O'Neill World Cup is the second of three events in the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Australians have traditionally fared well at Sunset Beach, and Parkinson is now a two-time winner of the World Cup (he also won it in 2002).

"It's a testing place" said Parkinson, 25. "A lot of things can go against you. You've got the guys and you've got the ocean. So to kind of prove myself a second time out there, I'm pretty happy with that."

Parkinson left little doubt yesterday, as he dominated the 35-minute final heat.

He already had the lead when he paddled into a 12-foot wave with nine minutes remaining. He completed one spectacular turn off the top of the wave, then maneuvered into a barrel.

The judges rewarded him with the only perfect 10 in the four days of competition.

"I kind of lucked into that wave," he said. "I needed to better a score and the north and west (swells) just came together perfect for me. Really, the wave did it for me."

Parkinson's final score was 17.67 for his two best waves. He received $15,000 for the victory.

Jordy Smith of South Africa placed a distant second with 11.8 points.

Hawai'i surfers Andy Irons and Fred Patacchia Jr. were the crowd favorites, but neither could find a high-scoring wave in the final. Irons finished third, and Patacchia was fourth.

Smith, 18, was the surprise of the event. For one, this is his first year competing in the Triple Crown. Second, he competed with 10 stitches in his foot because of a surfing accident on Monday.

"It's a dream come true," Smith said. "Just to have all those guys in the final they're my favorite surfers."

Kaua'i's Irons maintained his lead in the overall Triple Crown standings. He won the first event last month at Hale'iwa Ali'i Beach.

"The big picture is Triple Crown," said Irons, who is the defending Triple Crown champion. "Of course, I wanted to win at Sunset, but it didn't happen today. (Parkinson) won it and he's my roommate, so we kept it in the house."

Irons and Parkinson are sharing a North Shore house this winter because both are sponsored by Billabong. They are also the two leaders for the Triple Crown title heading into the third, and final, event.

The holding period for the Rip Curl Pro Pipeline Masters begins tomorrow and runs through Dec. 20. The contest will run when conditions are favorable at the Banzai Pipeline.

Current world champion Kelly Slater of Florida was eliminated in yesterday's quarterfinals.

The O'Neill World Cup was also the final contest on the 2006 World Qualifying Series. The top 15 surfers from the 2006 WQS will be called up to the 2007 World Championship Tour. No Hawai'i surfers are expected to be among the 15 call-ups.

FINAL RESULTS

1, Joel Parkinson (Australia), $15,000. 2, Jordy Smith (South Africa), $7,500. 3, Andy Irons (Hawai'i), $4,000. 4, Fred Patacchia Jr. (Hawai'i), $2,300. 5 (tie), Pancho Sullivan (Hawai'i) and Neco Padaratz (Brazil), $1,800. 7 (tie), Ian Walsh (Hawai'i) and Mick Fanning (Australia), $1,700. 9 (tie), Jay Thompson (Australia), Dean Morrison (Australia), Darren O'Rafferty (Australia) and David Weare (South Africa), $1,500. 13 (tie), Kelly Slater (Florida), Odirlei Coutinho (Brazil), Dustin Cuizon (Hawai'i), Marcelo Trekinho (Brazil), $1,400.

Reach Dayton Morinaga at dmorinaga@honoluluadvertiser.com.