Australian surfer, Joel Parkinson, has been awarded the prestigious Rip Curl Pro Gold Pass
Parkinson, the 2011 ASP World Runner-Up and defending Rip Curl Pro winner, is the youngest ever receiver of the Rip Curl Pro Gold Pass, joining an selective club of only 16 other legendary surfers in the world who have recieved this award.
The Rip Curl Pro Gold Pass guarantees that the event’s heaviest champs and admirers continue actively involved with the ASP’s longest running surf contest. It allows the bearer admittance to all arenas of the Rip Curl Pro event site.
“The Gold Pass was designed to ensure that past champions and great contributors to the event remain a part of the Rip Curl Pro forever,” said Rip Curl Marketing Chairman Neil Ridgway.
The idea for the Pass occurred years ago when Ridgway bumped into once Rip Curl Pro champ Simon Anderson in the Winkipop car park during the event. When Ridgway invited Anderson to join him for a beer in the stands, the surfing legend told him that he would love to, but that he did not have a pass to enter the event site.
“If Simon Anderson couldn’t get into the Rip Curl Pro, then something was very wrong,” Ridgway said.
The Gold Pass is usually granted to surfers who have already left competition, but Rip Curl chose to make an exception in the case of Joel Parkinson, a 5-time finalist and 3-time winner of the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
“Parko is one of the smoothest surfers ever to hit the Bowl for the Rip Curl Pro,” Ridgway said. “When he is on, he’s a wave magnet. He calls them up. We’re stoked to see him in the Gold Pass club.”
Joel Parkinson was granted his Gold Pass at a presentation ceremony held at the Rip Curl Pro awarded by Ford event site at Bells Beach.
“It’s an honor,” Parkinson said. “When you look at the list of people who have received this award, you see it’s one of those rare things in surfing. It’s a huge achievement.”
Past Rip Curl Pro Gold Pass recipients:
2003: Brian Singer/Doug Warbrick/Simon Anderson/Rabbit Bartholomew
2004: Tom Curren/Wayne Lynch/Michael Peterson
2005: Jeff Hakman/Mick Dooley/Sunny Garcia
2006: Mark Occhilupo
2007: Nat Young/Kelly Slater
2008: Damien Hardman
2009: N/A – Michael Peterson collected his 2004 Pass
2010: Terry Fitzgerald/Layne Beachley
2011: 50th Anniversary, not awarded.