Video: Wyatt Davies
Watch: Taj Burrow's Last Video Part With A Billabong Sticker
25 years after signing with the Australian surf co., Taj Burrow will be peeling back the double-wave adhesives.
Have the 2020s been wild, or what?
Following the recent Hurley and Rip Curl team fallouts, today, a man who has spent the majority of his quarter-century surf career with Billabong's double-wave logo on his nose, Taj Burrow, has left the Aussie brand for greener pastures.
There will be more info coming soon on Taj's future sponsorship plans. For now, enjoy his last video part with a Billabong sticker (and also that timeless and surgical backhand!) and let's reminisce on some of Taj's Billabong-laden career-defining moments.
Sabotaj, Montaj, and Fair Bits
While his contemporaries were putting 150% into the comp scene, Taj split his energy in the 2000s between being a WCT stud and the most iconic surf film star of a generation.
Sabotaj, Montaj, and Fair Bits weren't just fun to watch. They defined an era. They gave rise to the next crop of progressive, competitive-minded surfers like Kolohe Andino. And they wouldn't have been possible without Billabong's backing, both financially and in allowing one of their marquee athletes to pursue his passions outside of a jersey.
Taj Burrow's Hot Book Of Surfing
Like his films—or for some true surf nerds, even more so—Taj's how-to-rip book was as useful as it was elegant. When we say that this hardback encyclopedia broke down every single maneuver known to the sport of surfing (or at least those created up to 2003), we are not being facetious. It also did so in an easily digestible and straight-forward manner, along with sequential images so we knew exactly what Taj was talking about.
While the book failed to spawn an exact Taj surfalike, it helped cultivate a sense of intellectual superiority amongst all of its readers, who even if they'd never caught air before, knew exactly how to stomp one of Taj's patented alleyoops.
Naturally, a Billabong sticker + boardies adorned the front cover.
Taj's Small Fries
In 2005, out of the sheer desire to give back to the next generation of West Aussie surfers, Taj started an event called the Small Fries at his homebreak in Yallingup, WA.
The event became an annual tradition and is known for scouting some of the nation's best young talent, like Jack Robinson, who recently qualified for the CT, or Jai Glindeman, who you might remember from last year's Innocent's project. (Jai was also referred to us directly by Taj, who had seen the Lennox lynx surf in a Small Fries event.)
Nineteen years of terrorizing the CT
Taj never won a World Title. Who gives a shit?
Ask anyone who surfed on Tour during Taj's tenure (except for maybe Mick), and they'll tell you he was one of the most fearsome draws at any venue. But while competitive in the water, Taj always let his surfing do the talking. He didn't need to rely on tactics to take down the best. Because his surfing was often more electric than theirs.
Overall, TB won the Rookie of the year in 1998, captured 12 CT event titles, and finished second in the world two separate times. All with Billabong on the nose.
Taj's last event
In 2016, after 19 years on the World Tour, Taj Burrow announced that he would retire at his favorite stop on the CT shcedule—Fiji. While waves like Cloudbreak and Restaurants offered ample incentive to end his competitive career there, it seemed the real draw for TB was staying on the island of Namotu with all of his best mates, where over the course of a mid-event, week-long flat spell, they indulged in a proper send-off for the universally adored vet.
While we don't have the official tally on-hand, one can imagine that the previous record for Skulldrags consumed in a seven-day window was tripled by Taj's mostly-Aussie, layday-loving crew.
And after sobering up, Taj's professional journey culminated with one of the best heats of his career. In dead-glass, 10-foot Cloudbreak, Taj strung together jaw-dropping turns and tubes against the would-be World Champ, John Florence.
Taj finished with 17-odd points, John with 18.
While Taj seemed more than happy to go down swinging, it's heats like this that make a case for counting the third, fourth, or maybe even the fifth wave in certain scenarios. Because everybody knows Taj should have won that heat.