Watch: Billabong Bloodlines And Taj Burrow In Japan!
Youthful spirit and hi-fi surf dance beneath the Japanese sun!
You know Bloodlines, right? It’s a Billabong program that nurtures and boosts surfing’s bright future. Part of that good time concept involves taking the best of the Billabong junior team on brief overseas invasions, which involve the groms running wild, doing grom things and surfing their brains out in a foreign land. Most recently, Japan.
Present in the land of the Rising Sun this year were Australians Dakoda Walters and Caleb Tancred, Balinese Kian Martin, Floridian Tommy Colman, Frenchman Justin Becret, and local Japanese shredders Jin Suzuki and Monnojo Yahagi. And because a huge part of this concept is guidance and helping shape the future, surf royal Taj Burrow flew in for a few days to mirror the groms’ energetic vibe and act as spirit animal for the team.
“Pretty classic little mix of kids from all over – Florida, Japan, Brazil, Bali, Oz and France – but they all mingled and pranked each other like they were mates from kindergarten,” recalls trip photographer Duncan Macfarlane. “I don’t know about group leaders – they were all equal, which was kinda pretty cool. No alpha males, just a ton of pranking and and eating and surfing.”
Caleb Tancred was thrilled by the culture shock. “We actually ate so much 7/11 food,” he laughs – and if you’ve ever been to Japan you’ll know they do convenience store food better than anywhere. “We definitely had fun, did some karaoke – lots of Eminem – and we got in some food fights. The last couple of days when Taj came, it was so fun. So cool to surf with Taj, cause he’s always stoked to surf with you, and it’s cool watching him and then trying to surf like him. Everyone was following Taj, watching what he did, because he has so much experience in the surfing world.”
“Having Taj there was so sick,” recalls Dakoda Walters. “He was absolutely ripping, it was so sick to watch. Everything he did, a few huge, rad airs, and just the way he generates so much speed, and he surfs so rad on every wave. Heaps quick and powerful.”
Taj, however, felt like the groms were running rings around him. “Despite the swell, it was still super fun and playful, and it was still overhead for the kids, it just made life harder for me. They were all over me! But the water was warm and the waves were playful.”
TB had been to this part of the world before – this exact part of the world. “I used to go there on tour a bunch, and the only time I’d been to that particular zone, I was 18 years old and it was my first year on tour. The contest was right out front of the hotel we were staying at. I remember it so clearly because it was my first time in Japan. Danny Wills won the contest. On this Bloodlines trip I arrived at night and had no idea where I was. When I woke up, it was kind of familiar surroundings and… I realised I was in the exact same hotel room as when I’d first gone there. It was trippy.”
So, what kinda advice was Taj dishing out to the youngsters? “Tommy was asking me how to stay consistent through the whole year because he felt he was really hot and cold. I was telling him, if you’re really trying to rip and you’re failing then you get in a rut and when that happens to me, I just try and reset. Don’t get angry… realise how lucky you are that you get to surf for a living. Start with a clean slate and go back to your basic surfing, and wind it up again.”
Sound advice for life, really. But, at the end of the day, this trip was about good times and youthful spirit. “It was all about having fun and that’s what we did,” says Taj. “It was cool to see those kids in Japan for their first time. It made me enjoy everything more.”
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