Jeffreys Bay is one of Joel Parkinson’s favourite surfing spots on the planet and he feels the South African break will help him up the ante in his world championship bid this week.
The World Surfing Tour will take to the water at J-Bay for the first time since 2011 from Thursday with Parkinson believing he’s poised to strike at his rivals at a venue where he’s a two-time event winner.
The 2012 world champion goes into the sixth stop on the tour sitting fifth in the rankings, with consistency keeping him in the hunt despite not winning an event so far in 2014.
Brazil’s Gabriel Medina is top of the rankings on 30,950 points, with Parkinson on 26,400.
But the 32-year-old Australian says no-one is yet to show the consistency needed to claim this year’s crown and he’s confident a good result at J-Bay could be the defining moment in his year.
“Everybody’s been quite hot and cold,” Parkinson told AAP.
“Kelly (Slater) and myself are probably the most consistent. Others have had wins and some really bad results too.
“The next few (events) will really make or break guys that are in with a chance. It’ll be decided in the next two or three events.
“If you can make two finals in the next two events. Win one and make the semi or something, you’d really take a good lead.”
The closest Parkinson has come to a win this year was at the season opening event on the Gold Coast when he was pipped by Medina to the title.
After victories at J-Bay in 1999 and 2009, Parkinson expects his knowledge of the long right-hand point break will give him an edge, especially in the early rounds.
“It’s a long point break so it’s very fast and it’s about getting in sync, in flow with the wave,” he said.
“It’s a really technical wave that shows your flaws. I love watching all the guys surf there because you really get a lot of chances to see what the guys do right and what they do wrong.
“It definitely takes a fair bit of experience to know what’s the right kind of wave and which is the wrong wave. Saying that, those guys (the Brazilians) have been amazing this year, Gabriel has been incredible. He’s such a quick learner I’m sure he’ll figure it out in a couple of days.”
The J-Bay Open gets underway on July 10, conditions permitting, with Parkinson drawn to face compatriot Kai Otton and Brazil’s Raoni Monteiro in the opening round.
Defending world champion Mick Fanning, sitting eighth in the rankings, will start his competition against Australia’s Dion Atkinson and American Sebastian Zietz.
Australian veteran Taj Burrow, who is currently ranked fourth in the title hunt, will face another Australian in Matt Wilkinson and American Fredrick Pattacchia in the first round heats.