Parko Hands Over Jersey After Final J-Bay Heat

Parko Hands Over Jersey After Final J-Bay Heat

Joel Parkinson surfed in his last ever heat at Jeffreys Bay Wednesday afternoon in picture-perfect conditions. The 2012 World Champ held the No. 2 position for a large portion of the heat, with Conner Coffin in the lead. But the third surfer in the battle, South African Jordy Smith, ended up finding a last-minute score to overtake Parko in their three-man heat.

A slight sadness hung in the air at the realization. Parko -- as Smith has noted himself -- brings a little bit of magic to J-Bay and the Tour.

"I just had priority at J-Bay, surfing with some of the best guys. That's probably the thing I'll miss the most about being on Tour," said Parkinson. "I might've lost but I feel like I've won. I've kept it together so far. Haven't shed a tear yet but this wave has done so much for me. It kickstarted my career. This is where it all started for me."On the way up from the beach, Parko handed his jersey over to Coffin to celebrate. The Californian earned an impressive 16.03 (8.00 + 8.03) heat total.

"I've been doing that throughout the year," Parkinson said of the hand-off. "It's something that I would have cherished if someone on Tour had done that for me. I think it's just a cool gesture. I've dedicated my life to this Tour and hopefully I've made some type of imprint here. It's sometimes hard to realize that the Dream Tour is reality. But I guess the next step for me is reality. I'm no longer a World Tour surfer so I can't stop everything when the waves are good."

Coffin walked up the beach with a big smile on his face. By his own standards, the 24-year-old hasn't been able to put up a solid result this season but it looks as though pumping J-Bay (and a heat with Joel Parkinson) provided some inspiration.

"To have a heat with both Jordy and Joel at pumping J-bay...what an honor," said Coffin. "Joel and I had a bet with each other at Bells that the next time we had a heat together, whoever lost had to wear the winners jersey the whole next day. He texted me last night to remind me. That got me fired up. But he actually gave me his jersey at the end of that heat, which is so special. He's just such a legend."

About the World Surf League

The World Surf League (WSL), formerly the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP), is dedicated to celebrating the world's best surfing on the world's best waves through a variety of best-in-class audience platforms. The League, headquartered in Santa Monica, is a truly global sport with regional offices in Australasia, Africa, North America, South America, Hawaii, Japan and Europe.

The WSL has been championing the world's best surfing since 1976, running in excess of 180 global events across the Men's and Women's Championship Tours, the Big Wave Tour, Qualifying Series, Junior and Longboard Championships, as well as the WSL Big Wave Awards. The League possesses a deep appreciation for the sport's rich heritage while promoting progression, innovation and performance at the highest levels, and in doing so crowns the undisputed world champions in Men's, Women's across all divisions within the tour.

Showcasing the world's best surfing on its digital platform at as well as the free WSL app, the WSL has a passionate global fan base with millions tuning in to see world-class athletes like Mick Fanning, Tyler Wright, John John Florence, Stephanie Gilmore, Gabriel Medina, Carissa Moore, Grant Baker, Kelly Slater, Paige Alms, Adriano de Souza and more battle on the most unpredictable and dynamic field of play of any sport in the world.

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Parko Hands Over Jersey After Final J-Bay Heat
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