Stab Magazine | Taj Burrow's Celebratory Barber Shop!
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Taj Burrow’s Celebratory Barber Shop!

In which TB’s tour buddies are compelled to ensure his closing party is a memorable one.

style // Jun 9, 2016
Words by Words
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Tradition isn’t dead in surf! Not yet, anyway. As you’re well aware, the 2016 Fiji Pro is Taj Burrow’s last-ever event as a World Tour surfer. Which, unsurprisingly, has put a certain vibe upon the South Pacific island two-pack. While TB has lived at the pointiest end of high performance, he’s also balanced it with a talent for enjoying the pro surf high life. So, when it comes to maximising his last event (and a sorry-looking forecast), TB’s tour buddies are compelled to ensure his closing party is a memorable one.

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The beach bar on Namotu. Easily reached directly from shore, it’s often difficult to make it to the main compound post-surf, thanks to this spot.

Joel Parkinson, as you read on Stab last week, injured his knee during a warm-up at Cloudbreak, sending him packing from the contest, back to Australia to begin treatment. However, yesterday Parko jumped a flight back to Nadi International so that he could be with longtime pal Taj in the last days of his world tour career.

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Bede Durbidge expertly administers a skull drag for Michel Bourez. (Scroll to bottom if you’re unsure what a skull drag is.)

Which brings us to last night on Namotu, where what Stab will call an End Of An Era Party went down. Parko, who’s been a somewhat less inspired competitor over the last two years, was obviously there. Mick Fanning, who is midway through a “personal year” and still yet to make a call on his tour future, was there (when not competing, he’s been caddying for TB). Bede Durbidge, who suffered a pelvis-shattering wipeout at the 2015 Pipe Masters, made the trip over to coach John Florence, but had the added benefit of helping send Taj off. That crew in itself would’ve been cheery enough without the welcome additions of gents like Michel Bourez and Jeremy Flores.

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Taj streamlines longtime friend and photographer, John Respondek.

By comparison, the scene on Tavarua couldn’t be more different – a largely US contingency more engaged in yoga, swimming, training, TV and other such time-killers.

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Few people avoided a new TB-administered ‘do. Michel Bourez may or may not be faster down the line now.

After Taj sent out a video to those staying on Tavarua, inviting everyone to join the crew on Namotu, photographer Ryan Miller bolted down to the sand at Tavi. “First attempt, the boat just left us in the sand. Second attempt was me, Conner (Coffin), (Michel) Bourez and (Jeremy) Flores on a shitty old tiny jet ski. Four dudes, a huge, windy ocean and it was scary even before we got outside of the reef. Once we got outside of Restaurants the engine started smoking and stopped running. It was nearly dark and real scary as the wind was pushing us into the reef at restaurants.”

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Bede Durbidge is a team player. There was no way he was turning down the trimmer.

“Fortunately a boat saw us and towed us in before we dry docked,” continues Miller. “Third attempt was a Namotu boat in the pitch black that came for us. The boat driver asked me if I had a phone and if it was in a dry bag because we might need it. The ocean was super windy and every single wave came up over the bow. We were soaked and loving it. Once we hit the beach at Namotu though it was the best vibes ever. Skull-drags were waiting for us at the water’s edge. Wild times ensued. Some good haircuts were going down and barely anyone escaped without one.”

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Little known fact: Jeremy Flores is one of the finest party guests you could hope for.

Popular belief is that it was a trip with Tom Carroll, Martin Potter and Ross Clarke-Jones to The Hole in the Ments that first inspired the tradition of bad, friend-administered haircuts on surf trips. Or maybe it’s as old as surf itself. But the rite of passage was reignited on Namotu last night, with a one-for-all, all-for-one mood: No one had a choice in climbing into Taj’s barber shop chair for an awful (but wonderful) very short-back-and-sides.

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Taj wasn’t the only one doing styling; Josh Kerr is handy with the clippers, also, as evidenced here by the scalp of filmmaker Erik Knutson.

And so, here’s some moments from a fine evening. By the way: If you’re wondering what a skull drag is… it’s a combination of spirits, funnelled down a tube into a mask/mouthpiece combo worn by the drinker. Best done by standing on top of the bar to pour.

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Skull drags are far more enjoyable when poured by Mick Fanning.

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