Two of the original ‘Coolangatta Kids’ – Mick Fanning and Joel ‘Parko’ Parkinson – have been inducted into the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame in recognition of their outstanding contribution to their sport and the region’s sporting reputation.
The surfing world champions and great mates became the fifth and sixth surfers honoured with Hall of Fame status at a ceremony in Coolangatta late last year.
“Mick and Joel have done so much for their sport, in and out of the waves,” said Gold Coast Mayor Tome Tate.
“I know their passion to help the groms, particularly down the southern end, is greatly appreciated by those emerging champions.
“They are both champion Gold Coasters and worthy inductees and my congratulations go to Mick and Joel,” Councillor Tate said.
And according to Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame president Daphne Pirie AO MBE, the rare double induction is a fitting tribute to two great careers carved out on the same Gold Coast waves.
“We rarely induct two athletes at the same time, but Mick and Joel have gone from being close childhood friends to the top of the surfing and business worlds together, with extraordinary challenges met by both along the way,” Ms Pirie said.
“Their stories of nurturing their talents and overcoming adversities on and off the waves are truly remarkable and deserve being preserved in this way to inspire future generations.”
Mick Fanning AO
Mick Fanning put the finishing touches to his remarkable Championship Tour career at the 2018 Rip Curl Pro 17 years after winning the event as a wildcard.
In the process, he cemented his legacy as one of Australia’s greatest surfing heroes.
Fanning emerged from a deep pool of talent based out of Coolangatta as one of the ‘Coolangatta Kids’ band of brothers alongside fellow legends-in-waiting, Dean Morrison and Joel Parkinson, to earn his 2001 wildcard entry into the Bells event as a star Rip Curl team rider.
He qualified for the Tour that same year and spent the better part of the next two decades as one of the biggest gravitational forces in the sport, racking up 22 Tour wins, 11 Top 5 finishes and three World Titles in 2007, 2009 and 2013.
In 2018, Fanning announced his retirement from full-time competition at Bells to bookend his journey.
Joel ‘Parko’ Parkinson is regarded as one of the most naturally gifted and stylish surfers to grace the sport.
And his story is a sporting classic.
He started surfing as a child on his father’s board, before the Palm Beach Currumbin State High student started competing with his friends Morrison and Fanning – a childhood that would soon see the trio surfing some of the finest pointbreaks on the planet
Parkinson had finished runner-up for the ASP World Title an astonishing four times between 2002 and 2011, the most heartbreaking of those in 2009 when he led the rankings all year only to injure an ankle in the mid-summer break and lose the world title to best mate Fanning in the final event of the year at Pipeline.
It’s a measure of the man that having had the title taken from his grasp only minutes before and broken down in tears, he dusted himself off, pulled himself together, and walked to the water’s edge to chair Fanning up the beach.
But his time would soon come. In 2012 he went into the last event of the season – the Billabong Pipeline Masters – leading the ratings by a whisker, this time from 11-time world champion Kelly Slater.
In one of the most drama-packed days in pro surfing history, Parko’ and Slater traded the lead in the world title race four times, but when Slater eventually fell short in his semi-final it was Parko’ who was crowned World Champion.