It’s hard to believe it hasn’t happened already, but local surfing legends Mick Fanning and Joel Parkinson have had their names officially etched into local history, inducted into the Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame.
The retired surfing world champions, who share a plethora of titles and championships between them, will become just the fifth and sixth surfers honoured with “Hall of Fame” status at a special ceremony at Coolangatta.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate announced their inductions at Council Chambers on Wednesday morning, where he presented surfing superstar Parko with a special framed certificate.
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The 40-year-old was flying solo, with best mate Mick Fanning unable to attend as he’s still overseas in the US with his partner and young son.
Speaking to reporters, Mayor Tate praised the pair for their contributions not only to the sport, but to the local community.
“Mick and Joel have done so much for their sport, in and out of the waves,” Councillor Tate said.
“I know their passion to help the groms, particularly down the southern end, is greatly appreciated by those emerging champions.
“They are both champion Gold Coasters and worthy inductees and my congratulations go to Mick and Joel.”
Parko, who is regarded as one of the most naturally gifted and stylish surfers to grace the sport, said he’s honoured.
“To be inducted into the Gold Coast sporting hall of fame is a huge achievement,” he said.
“I believe here on the coast we have some of the best athletes in the world from various sports and to be acknowledged in my sport of surfing is huge.
“Myself and Mick, unfortunately he couldn’t be here today, but I’m sure he feels the same way I do.”
The local legend, who is admired by many hoping to follow in his footsteps, said while the induction was never in his sights, he is humbled.
“You don’t set a goal to be inducted into a hall of fame, I set a goal to win a world title,” he said.
“So in a way it’s just as prestigious that people recognise the effort you put in and I really appreciate that.
“I don’t spend my days thinking about competitive surfing anymore, but it’s nice to be recognised for the effort I did put in”.
The praises continued, with Gold Coast Sporting Hall of Fame president Daphne Pirie, admitting it’s only fitting the original Coolangatta kids are inducted into the hall of fame together.
“We rarely induct two athletes at the same time, but Mick and Joel have gone from being close childhood friends to the top of the surfing and business worlds together, with extraordinary challenges met by both along the way,” Ms Pirie said.
“Their stories of nurturing their talents and overcoming adversities on and off the waves are truly remarkable and deserve being preserved in this way to inspire future generations”.