30 May Fall in Love with Manly Like an Aussie World Surf Champ!


Joel Parkinson: Why Manly is His Home Away from Home


Manly Beach sure has come a long way since the early days of its classic Aussie surf culture. Home to the very first World Surfboard Titles back in 1964, where Manly Beach was bulldozed and sloped just to cater for the event’s tens of thousands of spectators, and radio station 2GB organised a ‘giant stomp,’ which featured spectators moshing to some of the country’s most promising musicians and bands at the time.

Manly has a proud surfing history. If you happen to see pics of Manly Beach this week, you may be forgiven for mistaking its bustling beachfront for a surf scene right out of the 60’s; rows of colourful Kombi Volkswagens are parked across the Manly Beach promenade, in celebration of Australia’s grass roots of surfing, at the 2018 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro.

You may also be lucky enough to snag a selfie with Australia’s 2012 Aussie World Surfing Champ Joel Parkinson. Parkinson was named the Manly Ambassador during the 2018 Vissla Sydney Surf Pro, and he makes it no secret that he has adopted the buzzing surf village of Manly as his beloved home away from home when he’s not on the Gold Coast. After all, TripAdvisor did announce Manly Beach to be ‘Australia’s Best Beach,’ winning the ‘2018 Travellers’ Choice’ award!

Joel Parkinson just also happens to be my favourite surfer… I’ve had a love affair with his relaxed surfing style since I was 12 years old. My bedroom walls were plastered in Parko posters; the shirtless and surfing kind. I even had a crack at painting a Parko surf scene on a canvas in my early high school days.

Now in my late 20’s, I’ve got more of an appreciation for the loving family man that Parko has become. We catch up with Parko and find out all about how he loves to spend quality time with his family when in Manly, with his wife Monica and three kids, Evie, Macy and son Mahli.


Q: What do you most love about coming to Sydney, and Manly?

Manly is our favourite spot to stay when we come to Sydney, we love it! The kids love how close everything is – the beaches, to everything in and around The Corso. There is a great range of restaurants and cafes for everyone and plenty to do without losing the relaxed coastal vibe.


Q: There are lots of fun activities to do here in Manly, are there any particular favourites for you and the family?

My wife, Monica generally hits the clothing stores during her stay. God help my Credit Card! The kids love to go for a bike ride…we often hire bikes and cruise along the beachfront down to Shelly Beach and stop in at The Boathouse for a feed and a coffee.


Q: Manly has an amazing range of cafes and restaurants. What’s on the top of your hit list during your stay?

Breakfast is always by the beach, as a surf check is high on my agenda in the morning. For lunch we generally opt for a healthier option so head to locations like Bare Naked Bowls or Dolce Terra. Then in the afternoon, it’s usually a beer and dinner at Manly Wharf – there is Wharf Bar, Hugo’s – the place to catch the sunset and Manly Bavarian – always a great spot for a sundowner. Manly sunsets are pretty cool over the harbour side, and the kids can run around on the beach, and watch the penguins come in at night.


Q: Joel, tell us about your favourite spots to surf in Manly…

The northern end of Queenscliff beach is a favourite, or if the swell is pumping – Deadmans near Fairy Bower in Manly. Manly is so lucky to have both an incredible surf beach and a harbour beach. Mahli (Joel’s son) has just started surfing and he’s all over it, waking me up every morning to go and surf. We love catching waves together while in Manly.



  1. The kids love the Manly ferry, as it’s such an iconic ride into the city.
  2. Stretching out after a surf at Power Living yoga.
  3. Popping into Billabong to say hi to all my support crew.
  4. Exploring the streets and laneways, there’s always something new to discover
  5. Smashing down a cheese plate from Artisan Cheese Room with my missus.




Photo credit: Manly Australia

Article by: Kristie Murray | Source: You The World Wandering




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