The current leader of the ASP World Championship Tour race was reserved in his wave selection but was still able to notch the day's highest score of 9.50 to advance directly to the quarter-finals.
“It was really slow at the start and I didn’t get a wave for about 11 minutes,” Parkinson said. “That 9.5 was a good wave. I waited. I figured I wasn’t going to waste my time on small waves. I’d rather lose than see someone get the wave that I wanted.”
With just two events remaining this season, Australian Parkinson knows he is close to clinching what would be a maiden world crown.
“That heat was really important,” Parkinson said. “I’m dropping a ninth and replacing it with a fifth or better now. Tomorrow’s a new day and there’s still a lot of work to do. It’s great to have the title come down to Pipe. It’s the best thing to be in it for Pipe and it’s good for surfing.”
Frenchman Jeremy Flores also was able to master the challenging conditions, racking up a 9.37 in his tough-looking heat against Michel Bourez and Kelly Slater.
“That first wave was perfect,” Flores said. “It was the best wave I’ve had so far and I feel better. It’s funny, I changed my wax and I actually felt better. It feels good to actually put a heat together. Wave choice out here is important.
"I think the guy that catches the right waves out here is going to win the heat if they don’t fall. Of course guys like Kelly (Slater) or even Michel (Bourez) can get a nine on anything. I’ve been scratching through heats, so that one felt better.”
Another Australian to move straight into the quarters was Taj Burrow, who beat Gabriel Medina and Travic Logie in his heat.
“I’m having fun,” Burrow said. “The conditions aren’t great, they’re a little bit slow, but I actually connected quite a few good waves in that heat, so I was pretty lucky. Even on the good ones, they were pretty tricky to ride. I hit a few lumps. I got lots of good turns, but I fell twice on an air. Three man’s pretty tough, but I was happy that I got a couple.”
Round four results:
Heat 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.47, Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.13, Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.67
Heat 2: Joel Parkinson (AUS) 14.77, Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 11.93, Alejo Muniz (BRA) 7.37
Heat 3: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.87, Michel Bourez (PYF) 13.50, Kelly Slater (USA) 13.00
Heat 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 16.60, Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.20, Damien Hobgood (USA) 10.37
Round three results:
Heat 9: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 9.50 def. Yadin Nicol (AUS) 8.66
Heat 10: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 14.83 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 14.00
Heat 11: Damien Hobgood (USA) 14.26 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.56
Heat 12: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 16.97 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 15.23