On Monday, 37-year-old former world champ Joel Parkinson announced his retirement from the WSL Championship Tour (CT). Parkinson is a renowned professional surfer from Australia who is retiring after 18 years on the CT. Parkinson will remain on the CT until his final heat at the Billabong Pipe Masters this December.

Parkinson at the 2009 J-Bay Open. Photo: Courtesy of Kirsten/WSL

“I've decided this will be my final year on Tour,” Parkinson said in a press release. “I'm all finished at Pipe. I thought about going on for doing one more event. Doing Snapper as one year consecutive event, but I just thought there's no better place than Pipeline. I've had so many great memories there. So many great wins there. I've decided this is it. This is my last time around the globe on this Tour. It brings tears to my eyes a little bit saying it aloud.”

The first time I went to J-Bay was 19 years ago. I was just a kid back then. I'd just finished last in a contest in Reunion, turned up at J-Bay with a toothache, but then got my first glimpse of the wave and the pain went away. It was six foot and perfect from Boneyards to Impossibles, I paddled out through the keyhole, caught my first wave and that was it. I was gone. I lost my mind. Next thing I was standing there on stage holding the trophy, not sure what had just happened, but I knew I'd found my second home. This is where it all started for me on tour, and that's why I wanted to be here in J-Bay to let you know that this will be my last year on tour. The Pipe Masters in December will be my last event. The fire just hasn't been there for a while now and I never want to surf without it, so it's time to go look for it somewhere else. The tour has given me so much. So many memories, so many friends, the chance for my kids to see the world, but it's time to move on to the next chapter. That means one last lap of the tour and I can't wait to catch up with a lot of old friends and get a few waves along the way… starting this week at J-Bay.

A post shared by Joel Parkinson (@joelparko) on

And shortly after Parkinson’s announcement, Kelly Slater followed by saying, “Next year will be my last year on tour.”

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