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09.05.04 - TIME FOR SOME INVENTIVNESS - Besides surfing a few times a day regardless of the conditions, some of the boys have invented a new game to pass the time waiting for real swell.
08.05.04 - ADJUSTING TO THE TAHITIAN PACE OF LIFE
- The crew get out and about as we sit out a projected five day lull.
06.05.04 - AWAITING THE BEAST AT CHOPES
- The Top 45, and friends, get some practice in on a dying swell at Teahupoo.
03.05.04 - STUCK IN AUCKLAND INSTEAD OF TEAHUPOO
- Five of the boys are stuck in NZ after missing their Tahiti connection.
01.05.04 - TAYLOR FINALLY GETS OFF HIS OWN BACK
- The Carlsbad Carver has kicked back after starting the season well.
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10.05.04 - PARKO STAYS HOME AND WE HAVE A NEW DRAW - Joel Parkinson stays home, after a pregnancy scare dash back to Australia, awaiting the pending birth of his first child.
Ex sarge, Billabong Pro Teahupoo, Monday May 10th, 2004.

Joel Parkinson
Parko won't be returning to Tahiti for his sponsor's
event at Teahupoo. Needless to day, the birth of his
first kid is far more important.

JOEL Parkinson was happily having a beer with a large Aussie contingent last Friday night here in Teahupoo when his mobile phone started ringing. It was his pregnant fiancé Monica Pagano on the other end of the line feeling very nervous and apprehensive about what and how she was feeling. We males wouldn't know (thankfully), but when a woman is pregnant for the first time, she obviously doesn't know what to expect when the unborn baby starts making moves to come into this world. Joel and Monica's first born is due somewhere between today and June 4th, the dates of May 18th and 25th, as well as June 4th previously juggled and suggested by doctors as the probable dates. Anything is possible.

Joel Parkinson
Flying back to Australia to be beside his fiance Monica
was Joel Parkinson's chief and urgent priority.

Concerned that things could be happening, and after another three phone calls, Monica decided on a trip to the local John Flynn Mayne Nickless Hospital for a checkup. The jolly crew in Tahiti cheered up Joel suggesting "Don't worry, there's always false alarms with the first one!" A short time later, everyone shuffled off to their various homes to bed down and get some sleep. Little did we know at the time, the impromptu gathering might very well have been the bloke's traditional wetting of the baby's head.

Joel Parkinson
Depending on when Joel and Monica are blessed with
the delivery of their kid, Joel may or may not make it to Fiji.
He might be headed right in his next WCT event.

Obviously concerned that his first child was on the verge of being born, and he was stuck on the other side of the Pacific Ocean, three flights and some 12 hours flying time away, Joel was having second thoughts about the crew's attempts at re-assuring him. As he laid his head on the pillow that same night, he couldn't sleep. About 2am he got his mate Mick Fanning to get on the phone and arrange a lift for him to the airport, so he could try and get on an 8am flight back to Australia. At 5am, all things arranged, Joel was collected by Rip Curl's Pit Manager Matt Griggs, who was already booked for an airport run to deliver photographer Jon Frank for the same flight. Before Joel had landed in Sydney, Kieren Perrow had rung his wife Danielle and been informed that Monica's trip to hospital had revealed it was a false alarm.

Joel Pakinson & Monica Pagano
Joel and Monica together in Hawaii last November
...proud parents to be.

Rumours have been running around the past few days that Parko would return to Tahiti to contest the Billabong Pro Teahupoo, but a phone call to him this morning revealed otherwise, so we now have a new draw for the event. Since Joel was second seed, every heat has changed. "I'm definitely not coming back; the cycle has begun and things will probably start happening in the next few days", said Joel. After enquiring whether the surf had remained small here in Tahiti, Parko gloated he had just surfed clean barrelling four foot waves at Duranbah.

Joel Parkinson, Mark Occhilupo & Mick Fanning
After a few beers with the boys, and on his way back to
Alain's to pack his bags, Joel took this 'self portrait' with
his mates Mick Fanning (L) and Damon Harvey. The next
shot he takes could be of the arrival of his first child.

Meanwhile, here in Tahiti, the swell is an inconsistent and windblown 3'+, and it has been raining most of the day. The women's event was on standby this morning until 9am, on the hope that conditions would settle, but it wasn't to be. Swell is forecast tomorrow (maybe!), but with 15 heats left to run in the women's draw from round three onwards, there will be no action for the men tomorrow either. That will make it six consecutive and frustrating days of waiting for the top 45 and three wildcards Shaun Cansdell, Heimata Carroll and Hira Terinatoofa. Local Alain Riou, whom Joel was ironically staying with here before he flew home, will replace him in the draw. He's a happy man - but not as happy as Joel Parkinson and Monica Pagano are going to be...presumably a few days from now.
ENDS