Parko and his go-to alternate craft, about to draw some new lines all over Jeffrey's Bay. All photos Ryan Miller and Trevor Moran
See below for STAB's hardware feature on the Black Baron, and why it was the first board Joel chose to ride after announcing his retirement from the Championship Tour at JBay this year:
JS have been working on this model for a while. Not with the aim of replicating the past and already accomplished, but melding the best qualities of a typical twin with the 'performance' aspects of a thruster. Essentially, a twin fin for the surfer who's not normally a twin-enthusiast.
Joel Parkinson is one of these surfers. The seamlessly stylish and era-defining Australian has done all of his best surfing on three-finned boards, but a near two-decades on tour making minute hardware adjustments takes it toll. And when there's not a pen-wielding point-scorer on the beach, Joel would now rather opt for something, dare we say, different.
After the J-Bay contest – where Joel announced his retirement – JS dropped off the latest refinement of the Black Baron twin model. “So yesterday afternoon, after Joel had finished his competitive career [at J-Bay], we all came back home." Jason Stevenson recalled to Stab. "We were having a beer with him, and Joel just says, I want to go out and surf J-Bay, with no rashie, and draw some new lines. Then he grabbed the twinnie and goes – 'I’ve been dying to do this'"
“The board he’s about to ride is our twinnie, and it’s 4-5ft pumping J-Bay as everyone would’ve seen in the comp." JS continued. "Straight away Parko snags a bomb up at Supertubes and rode it all the way down past whatever these next points are, kept flying down the line, and beached it. One wave. As soon as he hit the sand he put his hands in the air!"
From that moment, as anyone would be, Parko was hooked. His last few events have kept him tethered to a thruster – with fruitful results! – but in his post rashie life this is what you'll likely see Joel flying down the line atop. And just in case images are unconvincing of the boards performance – any twin can go fast – we'll be dropping a Julian edit in the coming days; a surfer who's rarely stepped on an alternative craft since his logging days as a junior.