Ever since he won J-Bay as a wildcard way back in 1999, Joel Parkinson has always been touted as a future world champion. He's wildly impressive every year on tour. Despite the runner-up cup being so big (they're huge!), it doesn't have the same meaning as the biggest cup. Plus, Joel has four of them already. The first was to Andy Irons in 2002, in Joel's second year on tour. The second time, in 2004, again to Andy. The third was to Mick Fanning in 2009, had no jovial sophomore sprinkling on it, and was much more painful (it was pal's second title and he came from nowhere). The third happened last year, to Kelly Slater, and was a more subtle achievement than the first two. He's consistent and a threat at almost every wave on tour. And, like everyone says, time is running out.

But, here we go again! Joel is rated first in the world! He's racehorse fit! He links turns but can he keep up with the above the lip game! And what about John Florence!