Stab Magazine | Taj Burrow Fiji

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Taj Burrow Fiji

Here’s the first in a three-part series of vignettes by Riley Blakeway. They feature Taj Burrow, Kelly Slater, Chris ‘Chippa’ Wilson and Jay Davies. All were filmed during a trip to Fiji that was originally gonna be a gift to Taj’s parents but eventually turned into a holiday for he and his pals. And it […]

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

Here’s the first in a three-part series of vignettes by Riley Blakeway. They feature Taj Burrow, Kelly Slater, Chris ‘Chippa’ Wilson and Jay Davies. All were filmed during a trip to Fiji that was originally gonna be a gift to Taj’s parents but eventually turned into a holiday for he and his pals. And it ain’t ’cause he’s cruel – Pops Burrow fell off his skateboard! As an accompaniment, below is the story we ran in Stab issue 52. Immerse yourself!

Fiji Vignette 1/3 from Taj Burrow on Vimeo.

Taj Burrow: “Originally, it was a trip for my parents. Just my mum, my dad and me. I’d been wanting to take them on a trip as a Christmas present for a while and I had this amazing, luxurious boat locked in for mid February. It was like something you would see cruising the Mediterranean. They were so excited. We were planning to cruise to a couple different places in Fiji and have the best time. A couple of days into the New Year dad bought this skateboard over the Internet, an old wooden carve board. It turned up in a box and he ran to the door like a little kid, put it together and just started bombing hills around our house. He had just turned 61 and my mum and I were, like, what is he thinking? He said he just wanted to do some carves. His third day of bombing hills he went to the biggest slope around, starts hacking away down this massive hill and the inevitable happens. He gets wild speed wobbles and eats shit, properly smashed. It took all the skin off of him, broken rib, broken arm, fully mangled. Obviously, they couldn’t make the Fiji trip. Dad was pissed for being such an idiot. Now I had this sick boat booked and no parents, so I rounded up a bunch of mates and we just hit it.

“It was Jay Davies, Chippa Wilson, and me. It was in between contests so I had this tiny window of time that I could go. We got so lucky, just happened to connect with this pumping swell. It was six-to-eight foot Cloudbreak and just the three of us. The boat we were on was over the top, an 86-foot powerboat, fully decked out. We were anchored just outside the break, got served breakfast with anything we wanted, even mango smoothies, literally waited on hand and foot. Even the cabins were luxurious. I was in one with a double bed and there was a bathroom on each side of the room, just in case a couple didn’t want to share the same toilet or something. I shared the room with Jay Davies so I guess it was a good thing.

“Every day we would wake up, get a mango smoothie, a couple of barrels at Cloudbreak, spoil ourselves with big meals and just surf our asses off all day. Have a couple of coronas on sunset, everyone high-fiving with the biggest smiles. One afternoon it was six foot, strong offshore, and it was just Jay and me out there, trading barrels and hooting at each other. I get excited a lot about things I do and often say something, like, this is the best day ever. But I could honestly say these days were some of the best of my life.

“When it went flat one of the guys on the boat, Muri, asked us if we wanted to fish. They brought out the game fishing boat, packed it with a bunch of beers, and we just chucked out into the middle of the Pacific taking turns bangin’ in these little one or two-foot tunas. Towards the end of the afternoon we went way out and started using the deep-sea fishing lures. We were all taking turns and asked this one cool guy, Joe, part of the staff, if he wanted a go. He’s this absolutely massive Fijian guy. He strapped into the chair and all of a sudden hooks up with this absolute monster. It’s about 5.30pm and we’re all pretty drunk by then. We spend the next three hours trying to reel this thing in, didn’t get it till 8.30 at night. He wanted to give up but we were hand feeding him water and stuff, screaming and high-fiving. It was the highlight of my life when we got it, it was like we had won the world cup or something. Once again, one of the best days of my life.

“Over the trip, I was talking to Kelly a bit because we both had just made the finals. He’s really spontaneous, kind of just does whatever he feels, and when he got wind of the swell he headed straight to Tavarua. It changed the vibe a little. My friend and I had organised a heli to come shoot, orchestrated the whole thing and made sure it got there right when the waves were the best. Kelly got every bomb when the heli was in the air. I didn’t get one. He got three or four unbelievable ones and I just got pinched. It got competitive when he was there, even before the chopper showed up. We were having the best time, but of course we’re always trying to better each other. At one point, I got a bigger wave that hit the ledge, paddled straight and fell right into the tube, all I had to do was go as fast as I could to make sure I got out. It spat me right on top of Kelly as he was duck diving. That felt good.”


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