Chris Ward had to be stopped.
And before you ask - no, this was not the Slater household.
It was the ‘2nd Billabong House’, on the OTW track, and Joel Parkinson was pacing in front of wife Monica, Mick Fanning and Mae Occhilupo.
He would have been pacing faster and heavier, if not for a heavy Backdoor backslap received earlier in the day. The anticipation seemed to stoop his damaged spine further, until he laughed, “I can’t believe I’m so nervous.”
The relentless Chris Ward had been trundling all day, leaving caterpillar tracks all over the heat sheet; wiping out fellow Triple Crown contender Bede Durbidge, then Andy, then Ace, and ten minutes from the end of the final it seemed nothing, not even Kelly, could stop his march to the Pipe Masters title, and thus subsequently removing Joel from the top of the Triple Crown leader board.
Wardo had an inked support crew less than 100m away; in the rain, under the palms, on the program, and out of their minds, yelling “WardoWardo!” in a drawl which bounced down the beach like a Californian beachball. As the minutes clicked forward, it looked like the Triple Crown trophy might end up in San Clemente for the first time ever.
That was until a set arrived, Kelly bottom-turned on his tiny board, drew a bizarre rail, way-up high on a downward funnel, and team Parkinson ignited and team Ward fizzled instantaneously.
Joel Parkinson had never been so happy to see Kelly Slater win anything in his entire life. Moet fell from the palms like coconuts, corks were popped, and fists were pumped.
‘What are you going to do with the money Parko?’ someone or everyone asked.
“Ah yeah, I haven’t had time to think about that yet, all I know is I’ve been dreaming about winning the Triple Crown since I was a kid.”
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