World number two Joel Parkinson believes the ASP Men’s World Tour is poised for one of its most exciting years in 2012, as the clock ticks down to the start of the Quiksilver Pro on Australia's Gold Coast this Saturday.
Parkinson, who is to be honoured at Thursday evening's 2012 ASP World Surfing Awards (see below), is embarking on his 12th season on the World Tour and believes the depth of talent is extraordinary.
“2012 looks really good with the new faces,” he said. “It seems the real cream of the crop is rising out of the ’QS at the moment with people like Kolohe Andino and Gabriels Medina coming through which will be awesome. I think they will all live up to the hype. The way the tour is there are a lot of events in really good waves so I think one of the scariest blokes will be John John (Florence).”
'There are so many people coming through with great potential – it's going to be a scary year!'
There is also the 11-time World Champion, Kelly Slater, who is showing no signs of slowing down: “He’s a freak, he’s like ET,” Parkinson said. “He’s unbelievable and just an amazing human so in tune with his body and so in tune with everything around him. I think if he had been talented in any other sport he would have won 11 world titles in that as well.”
Despite his veteran status and a pack of eager young rookies new to the scene, Parkinson is feeling as refreshed as he ever has heading into the traditional season opener at the pointbreak of Snapper Rocks. He finished strongly last year with two seconds and a fifth and believes a more relaxed approach was the key to his end-of-year success.
“At the end of last year I just enjoyed myself and enjoyed everything about the tour,” Parkinson said. “For the last few years I’ve been going so hard, five or six days a week with a full-on regime living and breathing training and getting fit. I feel if I’m enjoying my surfing and I’m enjoying everything about competition then I’ll probably have a lot more longevity and better results.”
Parkinson, and the world's best surfers, will exchange their ocean wear for more formal attire as they attend the 2012 ASP World Surfing Awards on Thursday.
The gala event, which will go out live on YouTube and feature music from Australian guitar-wielders Wolfmother, will see the official crowning of the 2011 ASP World Champions Kelly Slater, 40, awarded an unprecedented 11th ASP World Title, and Hawaiian sensation Carissa Moore, 20, awarded her first.
Slater and Moore (pictured, above) represent the youngest and oldest ASP World Champions in the history of the sport and they will be joined on stage by an array of awards winners across a variety of categories, including new awards voted for by the fans and the surfers themselves.
2012 ASP WORLD SURFING AWARDS RECIPIENTS
ASP World Champion: Kelly Slater (USA)
ASP Women’s World Champion: Carissa Moore (HAW)
ASP World Runner-Up: Joel Parkinson (AUS)
ASP Women’s World Runner-Up: Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)
ASP World Rookie of the Year: Julian Wilson (AUS)
ASP Women’s World Rookie of the Year: Tyler Wright (AUS)
ASP Men's Breakthrough Performer of the Year: TBA
ASP Women's Breakthrough Performer of Year: TBA
ASP World Junior Champion: Caio Ibelli (BRA)
ASP Women’s World Junior Champion: Leila Hurst (HAW)
ASP World Longboard Champion: Taylor Jensen (USA)
ASP Women’s World Longboard Champion: Lindsay Steinriede (USA)
ASP Masters Champion: Nathan Webster (AUS)
ASP Grand Masters Champion: Iain Buchanan (NZL)