Will you miss those enormous orang-utan sprays? An energy that never wavers?
Last year, the once-perennial bachelor Taj Burrow tapped out of the European leg of the tour so he could see the birth of his kid with girlfriend, the model Rebecca Jobson.
Rated sixth at the time, Taj figured even though he was a mathematical possibility for a world title, maybe even his last shot, there ain’t nothing in the world that compares to the moment when a living, breathing jewel sparkles and flashes from the cleft of a soul mate.
In an excellent interview with the Australian magazine Tracks, Taj said:
“I don’t yearn for [the world title]. I’m not upset with my career. I don’t dwell on it at all. And I don’t have the drive for it… . In events right now I feel so much more relaxed. I’m not as fired up anymore — not even close — but I’m still enjoying myself. I just look at how lucky we are at events to be surfing good waves with one other guy in the lineup.”
Now, at least according the rumour I was just fed when I bumped into an old pal of Taj (“Did you hear? Taj is quitting after this year! Wait, was I supposed to tell you that?”), 2016 is going to be the 37 year old’s last swing on the WSL merry-go-round.
Can you imagine sitting at the same desk, in the same office, for nineteen years? Sure, swinging your bag on the tour ain’t working in the office cubicle at an insurance company, but all the same travel routes, all the same faces, all the same jokes, the same parties, it gets old real fast.
Can you imagine sitting at the same desk, in the same office, for nineteen years? Sure, swinging your bag on the tour ain’t working in the office cubicle at an insurance company, but all the same travel routes, all the same faces, all the same jokes, the same parties, it gets old real fast. Twenty years of it is a haul.
And when his coach-trainer-confidante Johnny Gannon quit in 2014 after seven seasons to have his own kid, y’didn’t need to be a mind reader to know TB was feeling the baby thing, too.
As far as retirements go, it’ll be one of the more elegant in recent years.
Kelly barely kept a spot in the top ten last year (his year included four second-lasts), Freddy P and CJ were done competitively when they shelved their quivers, and for a surfer with a legacy like Taj, who has miraculously avoided any visible sign of ageing within his surf game, to leave at the 2016 Pipe Masters would bookend a remarkable career.
In 1997 he qualified for the world tour but, on the advice of his then mentor Maurice Cole, he turned it down saying he was too young.
The following he qualified again, finished 12th on the tour, was rookie of the year.
In 1999, he finished runner-up to the world title.
In 2007, he was runner-up to the world title.
Taj jas beaten Kelly Slater in the final of a Pipe Masters, he’s won J-Bay, the Quik Pro at Snapper (three times), Mundaka, finished second at Teahupoo (to Kelly), won Bells, and done with style, good humour, a stream of bewitching films and video parts, and never once turned into the borderline psychotic one must become to get close to a world title.
Will you miss? What did you enjoy most about a world tour featuring Taj Burrow?