Parko Comes Up
Joel Parkinson’s happy place
Some of the team houses have the chaotic tone of a pandemonium-filled frat house on the beach, replete with kegs, scantily clad girls of questionable character, and even an occasional after-hours fist fight. The Billabong A-team house, however, is comfortably appointed and quite mellow. It has one of the most accommodating and manicured lawns to watch the Pipe comp, and cold beers are never in short supply. Joel’s son Mahli and Andy’s son Axel can often be seen tearing it up on the grass. It’s a family affair. There is something completely unique about a team of world-class athletes staying together under one roof, rather than in individual rooms at a hotel. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade certainly don’t rent a house together when they play the Lakers in Los Angeles. There is a palpable sense of community that the team houses foster. This feeling of unity was at fever pitch on the final day of the Pipeline competition, with everyone on the patio counting down the last remaining seconds as the Slater versus Kerr heat drew to a close, with Kerr in a commanding lead. After the horn sounded, there was an explosion of applause. Joel was the new world champion. It felt like a victory for the entire Billabong house.