The reigning world champion thrived as he took on two-to-three foot waves at Snapper Rocks in Queensland to post the highest heat total of the day with 17.10 out of 20.
The 26-year-old Dorrington was only able to score 10 in response, with Parkinson outclassing his compatriot to secure his place in the next round.
"I wasn’t so much nervous as I was excited," Parkinson said. "I’ve been ready to get this heat underway for a few days now.
"We’ve come down to the beach the last few mornings ready to go and then had to get back in the car and go home. It feels good to get it out of the way and now I can re-focus on the remainder of the event.
"It’s the first event of the year so everyone is frothing," he added. "Everyone on tour these days is dangerous, even the wildcards. Nothing’s guaranteed and you just have to go out and surf your best in every round."
Parkinson will next take on another wildcard in the shape of Dane Reynolds of the USA in round three when competition resumes on Sunday.
Reynolds produced a thrilling upset as he came from behind to beat Adriano de Souza of Brazil in their second-round clash.
The Brazilian took an early lead with a 9.10, but Reynolds responded with a 9.40 of his own to secure his progress, while defending champion Taj Burrow and Josh Kerr were also victorious in their heats.
When competition resumes, Owen Wright of Australia will be up first against Dusty Payne of Hawaii in their second-round encounter.
Round two results
Joel Parkinson (AUS) 17.10 def. Brent Dorrington (AUS) 10.00
Dane Reynolds (USA) 16.73 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 15.43
Taj Burrow (AUS) 16.10 def. Willian Cardoso (BRA) 13.53
Josh Kerr (AUS) 12.17 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 12.00