Surfer Joel Parkinson wants to end his career on a high. Photo: supplied
At age 37, former world champion Joel Parkinson is well on his way to ending his glittering pro surfing career with a fairytale finish.

By winning the Haleiwa Pro in Hawaii last week, Parkinson now leads the Vans Triple Crown rankings heading into the final two events of the season  the Vans World Cup at Sunset Beach (from tomorrow until December 6) and the Billabong Pipeline Masters (December 8-20).

After announcing his retirement earlier this year, Parkinson has been eyeing dream finishes at each of the stops on the Championship Tour in Australia, Brazil, South Africa, the US, Indonesia and Europe.

Unfortunately for ‘Parko’ the podium finishes didn’t come his way and the 2012 world champion had to settle for a disappointing string of ninth, 13th and 25th place finishes in events that he, at one time or another, dominated over the past two decades.

His lacklustre 2018 season immediately turned around when he was carried up the beach triumphantly in Hawaii last week. And now, while out of the world title race, Parkinson could well bow out of pro surfing by being crowned with one of the most coveted titles, the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing title.

Parkinson is no stranger to the podium at the Vans World Cup of Surfing which starts tomorrow. The Queenslander is a three times winner at Sunset Beach (2002, ‘06 and ‘09) and while hoping for back-to-back titles in the first two events in the Triple Crown may be stretch too far, if anyone could do it, Parko certainly can.

The lanky footer is also a seasoned veteran at the Banzai Pipeline, where he won the Pipe Masters, the same year in which he won his first and only world title in 2012.

At Sunset Beach, Parkinson is seeded into Round Three (the round of 64 surfers) where he and the top 30 world ranked surfers have the luxury of bypassing the first two rounds.

Jordy Smith, who won the event in 2016, tops the list of South Africans featuring in the event, which dates back to 1975, with fellow Durbanite Shaun Tomson also being crowned winner in the same year he won his world title in 1977.

Beyrick de Vries (Umhlanga), Adin Masenkamp (Cape Town) and David van Zyl (Durban) are all seeded into the Round of 128 while Michael February (Cape Town) and Matthew Mcgillivray (Jeffreys Bay) are seeded into the Round of 96.

Contestants in the World Cup will need to bring their A games when they paddle out at Sunset Beach as massive back-to-back in swells of XL to XXL range are expected to bear down on Hawaii’s famous North Shore.

Independent on Saturday

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