Taj Burrow And Stab: In Covers
J-Bay Will be our first event without TB. Here’s one last flute of champagne.
Well, here we are, on the eve of the J-Bay Open, otherwise known as Mick Fanning’s return to the scene of his shark encounter, otherwise known as the potentially deciding step in Matt Wilkinson’s World Title rush, otherwise known as… the first event since Taj Burrow’s retirement from professional competitive surfing.
Stab has been fortunate enough, throughout TB’s career, to share an intertwined, well-documented history. He appeared on our first-ever cover, footing the bill for the chopper from which Stab captured The Angle Of God (this hadn’t been done at the time). More recently, TB and Mark Mathews double-shotgunned a bubble bath at WA’s The Right in search of surfing’s greatest-ever photo. And then, all those in between. Let’s pop one last bottle before TB’s absence from the webcast is truly felt…
The Angle Of God… In 2004, TB was sick and lost early in Brazil on what might’ve been a (yet another) World Title year. Stab hassled him into dropping cash on an iron butterfly, and despite his poor mood and health, he obliged. Luckily, the results were extraordinary. Issue one, page one.
In 2004, Stab and Taj went to Sunway Lagoon waterpark in Malaysia with Joel Parkinson and Trent Munro. At the time, Sunway was the world’s largest wavepool, and created the most realistic waves imaginable (what a gas, in comparison to the Wavegardens and Kelly Slater Wave Co of the mid 20-tweens!). This lien air, with its bizarre, photoshop-looking (but totally real!) backdrop, was too good to refuse at the time.
Issue 24. And is this photograph, this moment, not still captivating, and cover worthy? Nate Lawrence’s angle was disruptive enough for Stab to dispense with its penchant for themed cover shoots, and run an organic image. #noregrets
Issue 42. Can the world’s friendliest surfer win a world title? Back in 2010, Stab screamed yes! While the silverware never became a reality for Taj, Stab celebrated the question of who really cares? by making note of TB’s popularity: He was already the people’s champ! Lining up for an autograph, you’ll find Chippa Wilson (back, holding Surf Like Taj book and wonderful Mod Col attire), Gezza Blake (handsome fireman), the enchanting Anna, and young Jones.
You want TB’s 50 Rules In Style? We did. So, we had him discuss the profound implications of crop tops, slouch fits, and his bitchin new patent leather Globe shoes (yowser, were they hot back then). And, as ever… throw nudity in, and blend.
If anyone knows how to live high in the dirty biz of pro surfing, it’s Taj Burrow. This image of TB wheeling heelside at Oahu’s Ehukai Beach Park, which might’ve been a double spread at most, was greatly enhanced by the presence of Taj’s then-squeeze, Oleema, as she papp’d him. “Lots of eyes and lots of lenses on every move you make,” recalled TB of the North Shore. Reckon he’ll miss the spotlight? Perhaps not so much.
POV in surfing was veeeery du jour for a time – kinda still is – and Stab was kinky to capture the best surf image ever taken. So, we took Mark Mathews and dear Teebs to The Right, in WA. Bigger = better, right? They paid some serious tax, scoring a furious bubble bath, Mark pushed so deep the pressure made his ears bleed, with TB coming out least scathed but still shaken. Best surf photo ever? No. Amazingly good imagery and tale? Yeah!
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