Back To Top
Beach Grit

mobile banner

Haute: Taj Burrow’s new career!

Chas Smith

by Chas Smith

Where do surfers go when the lights turn out?

Do you wonder what happens to your favorite pro surfers when the lights turn out on their professional competitive careers? Like, what is Brett Simpson doing right now? Or Ethan Ewing? How are they spending their salad years? Or Taj Burrow? Everyone’s one-time second favorite surfer has been out of the public eye for some time but just re-emerged in North Carolina and in a surprising role. Let’s read about him in the local news!

Youth surfers got a chance to meet several top pro surfers last week when they visited Wrightsville Beach as part of the Gnarly Charley Surf Series on Thursday, July 27.

Pro surfer Taj Burrow, who retired from the ASP World Tour in 2016 after a 17-year career on the tour that saw him win 12 tournaments, came to the tournament, as did other pro surfers, including Peter Mendia, Bo Raynor and Knox Harris.

After the surfers arrived at the event, a line of kids eager to get the signatures of their favorite surfers. Most had the surfers sign hats, t-shirts and posters, but one young surfer, Mako Musilunas, who hoisted a trophy at the event, even got a signature on his forehead.

But a few of the young surfers wanted an even closer experience with the pros. Talan Groseclose, a young surfer from Carolina Beach, let Burrow shave part of his head to mimic the familiar “mohawk” style haircut Burrow would wear on the tour.

“It’s pretty sick,” Groseclose said of the haircut.

Groseclose said the event helped him learn about how to compete in a surf tournament.

“I learned how to wait on waves instead of just going for everything,” Groseclose said.

Now, I spend most of my days reading surf news but this whole story had me scratching my head from the very beginning. I will detail my questions below.

1) Can surf contests be accurately described as “tournaments?” I thought “contest” and “tournament” were distinct but maybe I’m wrong here.

2) The familiar “mohawk” style haircut Burrow would wear on the tour? Did I miss Taj’s mohawk years? Like, I remember all his WSL buddies got drunk and shaved the sides of their heads before he retired but… Yeah, I can’t remember more than that.

3) What in the world were a pair of hair clippers doing at the autograph signing table?

4) “I learned to wait on waves…” Do you think the boy with the Taj Burrow Signature Mohawk™ meant he learned how to surf at the acceptable 75% tour effort level or do you think he meant actually wait for set waves?

I will be spend the next six hours pondering these and encourage you to do the same.