Taj Burrow Finishes His Career On The Best Heat Of His Life
"I feel like I won the event. I feel like I’ve won the world title!"
Taj Burrow has officially retired from competitive surfing. After announcing during the Margaret River Pro that Fiji would be his last event as a World Tour surfer, Taj was just eliminated in round three of the Fiji Pro by John John Florence, bringing to an end his incomparable career.
Uh, yeah, TB gots fans.
In many ways, it’s fitting that it was John who ended Taj’s Cloudbreak run, in what was TB’s last ever heat as a Tour surfer. John is the world’s most exciting surfer right now, just as Taj was the world’s most exciting surfer for many years in his prime, and this was as symbolic of the passing of the torch as anything that’s happened in the last 18 months of guard change.
The last time.
Cloudbreak came to the party, and the heat that unfolded was the best we’ve seen since John surfed against Kelly in the 2014 Teahupoo semis, and what Stab is calling TB's best ever. Taj and John traded bombs and lead changes for the heat’s entirety, with the only downtime occurring while the surfers rode the ski back out. John finished the heat with an 8.17, an 8.13, a 9.33 and a 9.43. Taj ended his world tour career on an 8.00, an 8.60, a 9.20 and a 9.40.
“That was one of the best heats I’ve ever been in,” frothed Taj afterwards. “The waves were so sick and I just went out there with the goal of getting a sick one. I wasn’t too concerned about the result. Every time I got off the ski a crazy, perfect wave would come. Honestly, that’s one of the best heats of my life. The waves were so good and I was against the best tuberider in the world. I’m just stoked he didn’t flog me.”
Truly one of the best heats professional surfing's ever seen.
“It was such a special moment, it was one of the best heats of my life,” concurred John John afterwards. “Everyone’s got their Taj shirts on, and that’s sick – I would too if I wasn’t in his heat.”
It’s all been said about Taj’s departure from the full-time jersey. Not only did he change the game, but he kept jamming it forward (read an exclusive Stab interview with the West-Australian about his career and retirement here). And what an exit he made. “I couldn’t have picked a better way to finish my last event, ever,” Taj continued. “The waves are exactly how I’d want them, and I was against exactly who I’d want to be against.
Says it all, really.