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Joel Parkinson, fellow Aussie surfers give Lower Trestles a Down Under feel

September 14, 2009 |  8:08 am

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The Hurley Pro, the only ASP World Tour surfing contest held on the U.S. mainland, is in progress through Saturday at Lower Trestles in San Clemente.

That means there are a lot of Australians in town.

There are 19 Australians, far more than from any other country, on the elite tour's 45-man roster. Seven Australians are in the top 15 and one of them, Joel Parkinson, sits atop the leader board, seeking his first world title.

This should come as no surprise, given the island nation's passion for riding waves.

Says Parkinson: "As a kid you either surf or you play football--or you do both. Most of your footballers, they surf anyway. It's such a beach-going country, there are whole families out there. You go down to the beach and you don't  just see young guys surfing. You see families out there--moms, dads, everyone's out."

Surprisingly, only four surfers from Hawaii are on tour. Nine, including nine-time world champion Kelly Slater, are from the mainland U.S.

-- Pete Thomas

Photo: Joel Parkinson, one of 19 Australians on the ASP World Tour, in action during the first round of the Hurley Pro at Lower Trestles. Credit: Michael Lallande/Hurley

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