Stab Magazine | The Five Best Airs In Modern History, according to Taj Burrow
1522 Views

The Five Best Airs In Modern History, according to Taj Burrow

Footage courtesy of Damien Robertson / Diego Santos / Blake Kueny / Rock Star Energy / Red Bull / Taj Burrow sees life through rose coloured glasses and it’s not often you’ll hear him sigh or say dull things. He’s been aggressively shoving aerial progression forward since before you filled out your first custom order. His tail […]

news // Mar 8, 2016
Words by stab
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Footage courtesy of Damien Robertson / Diego Santos / Blake Kueny / Rock Star Energy / Red Bull /

Taj Burrow sees life through rose coloured glasses and it’s not often you’ll hear him sigh or say dull things. He’s been aggressively shoving aerial progression forward since before you filled out your first custom order. His tail kicks as high as anyone 10 years younger than him, and the reason he’s kept so deeply in the mix is because when it comes to airs, he watches the young guys carefully. “I look at their techniques for getting their boards above the lip,” he says. “A few years ago, you would not throw yourself into positions that kids are now. But once you actually do it, so much more is possible. If you’re open minded about where you can put your surfboard, you can really make it become reality. You see some of the huge airs that go down at the moment. A few years ago it was too scary to land airs like that, but you see guys now making them.”

And so, because he’s such an avid consumer of progressive content, and an authority on the subject, we asked Taj for his top five airs in recent history…

****

Number 5

Jordy Smith, Rodeo at Macaronis, Indo

Jordy_Rodeo_article

Taj: “The biggest, cleanest, smoothest rodeo ever done. And even though it was quite a few years ago now, it’s still the best ever done. And he combo’d the wave, it was perfectly executed. He couldn’t have done it any better. It’s still yet to be surpassed. The perfect rodeo. No one has ever beaten it because no one will. People have done them since but they’ve gone off the radar a little bit. Will they come back in vogue? Yeah, I reckon they’re sick.”

****

Number 4

Matt Meola, backside rotation, WA

Matt_Meola_article

Taj: “That air got overlooked massively, because it wasn’t the highest ever done, but its probably the gnarliest I’ve ever seen. I know the wave that it’s at and it isn’t very user-friendly, it’s really powerful and breaks right on dry reef and he just somehow hucks himself out into no-man’s land, into the flats, and just stomps it. It’s not even a position that should be possible to land in, but he just bounced out of it like a cat, it was incredible. I think it was overlooked, because everyone looks for height and rotation. That thing was just gnarly, there’s no other way to put it than really gnarly.”

****

Number 3

Albee Layer, double oop, Maui, HI

Albee_Oop_article

Taj: “Oh, it’s incredible. He just chases down the biggest right ramps he can find, and goes head first into the strongest wind possible. He tried it for so long, along with heaps of people that were chasing it too, but yeah, he was the first one to do it and stick it. It’s still so sick to watch him ride out of that thing. I’ve seen so many close attempts of his, one that was actually at the same wave that Matt Meola did his air and it was just like a millimetre away from landing. But it was one of those things that people watch and go oooooh. Then when he made it everyone was just like, yes, he earned it.”

****

Number 2

Filipe Toledo, backside rotation, Rockies, HI

Filipe_Rockies_article

Taj: “There’s so many good airs out there, it’s hard to choose just five. So, just in my opinion… Fillipe’s is definitely worth noting. It’s just a perfectly done backside air reverse on a huge section. It’s just one of those ones where it’s so smooth and he almost surprised himself with how well it went. He threw himself into a big section and to ride out of it with that much ease would’ve felt incredible, and it made it look incredible too. Rockies isn’t difficult for airs. It’s a good wave for it. But that was not your average section to do an air on at Rockies. You normally have the wind blowing into it a lot stronger and kinda do it at the sandy end of Rockies. I felt that one was a bit deeper on the reef, and he bucked himself off the lip. If you watch it you see him leave the lip where it’s barrelling and then he lands on the bit where you normally do the air.”

****

Number 1

John John Florence, alley oop, Haleiwa, HI

John_John_oop_Article

Taj: “John John’s oop at Haleiwa is one of the biggest airs ever done, I think. Haleiwa has huge sections and you gotta be really committed to hit one of them. He was on a bigger board and he just went for it. The wind picked him up and took him that little bit higher and he just landed perfectly. It was so well executed. I love that thing. It’s better than the one at Keramas because it was a little bit higher I think, and done on a bigger section. They’re equally as good but the Haleiwa one stands out. Haleiwa’s actually really good to do airs on if the wind’s right. It can be unbelievable. No one else is known for really good airs out there – he’s definitely drawn everyone’s attention to Haleiwa being a really good air wave. You’ve seen airs out there from time to time, but he realised what you can do out there and did it.”

Comments

Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up

Advertisement

Most Recent

The WSL Pumps Over 10 Million USD Per Year Into CT Prize Money

Here’s how much surfers make, and how dramatically that’s changed over the years.

Feb 7, 2023

The Worst Day Of Competitive Surfing (So Far) In 2023

With 2-point heat wins and 30-minute lulls, Day 3 of the Billabong Pro Pipeline was…

Feb 7, 2023

23:26

Unlocked: ‘Toasted,’ By Caity Simmers

Your favorite surfer directs, edits, and stars in her first feature film. 

Feb 6, 2023

2:29

More Dane Reynolds Than You Can Stomach In One Serving

Chapter 11 TV is everything surf media needs.

Feb 6, 2023

Kanoa Igarashi On Concussions, Goose Chases, Title Visions, The Three Types Of Surfers CT’ers Encounter In The Water, And More

A candid and wide-ranging conversation with 2022 World #5.

Feb 5, 2023

Can Small-Scale Investors Buy Into Wave Pools?

Say you got $10k and a dream — what can you do?

Feb 4, 2023

An Early Pipeline Exit For Stephanie Gilmore Amidst GenZ Glory

Day Two of the 2023 CT season was a clear notice that the kids are…

Feb 3, 2023

Hand-Shaping, Glassing, And Finishing ’70s-Inspired Displacement Hulls Will Not Make You Rich

Profile: Tristan Mausse of Fantastic Acid is in it for all the right reasons.

Feb 3, 2023

Hassling, Head-Dips, and Broken Apple Watches

The 2023 CT is underway. Here's what happened on Day One of the Billabong Pro…

Feb 2, 2023

Stephanie Gilmore And Filipe Toledo Are The 2022 Stab Surfers Of The Year 

Caity and Hughie take Best Juniors, “NOZ VID” wins best film, and Ho and Pringle…

Feb 2, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: The Stab Premium Vote

Day Ten: You voted, we counted.

Feb 1, 2023

Red Bulls, Crypto Bears, Former’s Six-Figure Fish, Tyler’s Multi-Millions And More

A brief catalog of the latest surf industry news and whispers.

Jan 31, 2023

20:37

“Definitely The First Time I’ve Gone Surfing Via Plane”

Parker Coffin, Harrison Roach, and friends tear through NZ on Roark's most well-rounded surf trip…

Jan 30, 2023

Pipe Preview: This Year Feels Different

With John and Gabs healthy — and the arrival of the femme next-gen — here’s…

Jan 29, 2023

WSL Tells Competitors: ‘You Better Like Them Apples’

Will mandating competitors to wear Apple Watches make the 2023 tour more or less engaging?

Jan 29, 2023

Stab Surfer of the Year: John John Florence, Italo Ferreira, Balaram Stack, Rolo Montes, and Shaun Manners

Day 9: "You can't do better than his year last year." - John John Florence

Jan 28, 2023

Full Moon Surfs, Impassable Puddles, And A Few Nights Spent Sleeping In A WSL Commentary Booth

A reader-submitted collection of nonconformist surf stories.

Jan 27, 2023

Kael Walsh Now Owns A Bitcoin, And Watched One Crypto Video

He’s officially your Stab Edit Of The Year champion.

Jan 27, 2023
Advertisement