WORLD Championship runner-up Joel Parkinson has been given the number one seed for the Australian Open, a 6-star WQS event which is in progress at Sydney's Manly Beach.
"I'm stoked to be back in the competition stakes for 2012 and launching my first event of the year at Manly which has so much surfing history - it will be awesome," said the 30-year-old Coolangatta surfer.
Parkinson has now been world runner-up four times like Cheyne Horan and will use the inaugural competition to kick start his 2012 campaign.
Parko was a shoo-in for the 2009 world title but a broken ankle in Bali shattered that dream and last year he was in the ratings lead at the halfway mark and then his luck faded while the greatest surfer ever, Kelly Slater, came back for an unprecedented 11th.
Despite losing again Joel finished off the year with two seconds - one at San Francisco and the last one at Pipeline.
"I was disappointed not to win the Pipe final but all credit to Kieren Perrow who charged harder than everyone."
Parko's approach this year will be to enjoy his surfing and not let the pressure of the competition take away that fire in the belly.
"I still love that feeling of just going surfing and I am keen to win a world title but I'll just take it as it comes," said the father of three who adores his kids and pays huge compliments to his supportive wife Monica.
"A happy life with a happy wife!" he adds with the all too familiar happy Parko smile.
Joel's fellow Billabong Team rider Taj Burrow is the number two seed and Occy has been given a wildcard for Manly.
It's been a long time since ASP has used the iconic beach break for a major event.
Back in the 80's the Manly Cleanwater and Coke Surfabout events were regular features.
It was back in 1964 that Midget Farrelly and Phyllis O'Donnell won the first world titles in front of 50,000 spectators which is still the crowd record.
The Australian Open is a nine-day event featuring an exciting mix of the world's best surfer competing in 6-star men's and women's ASP-sanctioned surf contests, men's and women's pro junior star-events, a world-class skate bowl featuring the world's best skateboarders and two live music concerts on the Channel [V] music stage including the popular rock band, The Living End.
It's all happening until February 19.
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