Surfing your local breaks with a former world champion is the stuff dreams are made of.
And for a group of Pāpāmoa youngsters the dream became a reality when Aussie surf legend Joel Parkinson rolled into town.

"I was on the world circuit for 18 years. I was lucky enough to be a world champion in 2012 and retired just recently in December," Parkinson said.

Besides surfing, everyone at the beach had another passion - the ocean.

"The ocean gives you so much benefit and it's given me everything in my life," Parkinson said.


"I always try to teach kids that if you're having a bad day this is a little saviour - get in the ocean, jump in. Even if it's for 10 minutes or two minutes … the ocean will always put a smile on your face."

Parkinson told his audience that surfing is the best addiction he's ever had.

"It's such a healthy sport to be involved in for body and mind. It's one of the greatest things I've ever done.

"I love getting in the water. Some days you're having a crap day or you've gone a few days without being able to get in and you find time and the first time you jump under, or a duck dive, that first wave you know is such a great feeling."

The difference between surfing for fun and surfing for a living was also on the agenda, and he has advice for wannabe world champs in all sports.

"The story of any athlete - the dedication it takes, the ups and downs - like any career in any sport," he said. "It has lots of hills and valleys to get through. Try and help them through that, if that's their dream to do something in a sport, and shed some light on the emotional rollercoaster of being an athlete."

Parkinson's talk and the chance for a swim went down well with the young locals who attended.

Aussie surf legend Joel Parkinson.
Aussie surf legend Joel Parkinson.

"[It was] just really good to have a chat with them, get their insight on stuff and some really funny stories too," Jacob Saunders said.


"Pretty cool day meeting the pros," Jack Hinton added. "[It was] good to see what they do before their heats and world titles, and all their amazing experiences."

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