Inspirations: Taj Burrow
Current competing surf champ Taj Burrow has a story that can inspire both in and out of the water.
Burrow began surfing around Yallingup in Western Australia when he was just seven years old. He won his first surfing award two years later – a local Under 18 event – and continued to achieve wins for the following eight years, including recognition as Young Australian Sportsperson of the Year when he was 17.
That same year, Burrow went head to head with the equally talented Hawaiian surfer Andy Irons for the first time at the Ocean and Earth Pro Junior competition.
As Surfline recalls it, this event was the first time the world really saw Burrow’s competitive streak shine.
“Irons had the moves, but Burrow was single-minded in his title-seeking pursuit,” Surfline says in its bio of Burrow, adding that his ambitions were public by the end of his debut World Qualifying Series year.
“When he qualified, he declined a Top 44 position so he could ‘mature’ and become ‘a genuine world title contender.’ Burrow was driven to become world champ and nothing less would suffice.”
A year later, Burrow debuted on the World Tour and earned the Rookie of the Year award and in 1999 he challenged surfing legend Mark Occhilupo for the title, coming a close second.
He also won the Coke Surf Classic in Manly and the Rio Marathon Surf International competition that same year. Burrow has continued to win both ASP and other comps and titles in the 2000s, including:
- The Honda US Open of Surfing (ASP 6-Star) in 2004
- The Billabong Pro Jeffreys Bay in 2007
- The Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach in 2007
- The Billabong Pipe Masters in 2009
- The Quicksilver Pro Gold Coast in 2001, 2010 and 2012
- The Breaka Burleigh Pro in 2010 and 2011
- The O’Neill Santa Cruz Pro in 2012; and
- The Hurley Pro Lower Trestles in 2013
Burrow’s influence has spread into surf fashion as well: Billabong, Globe and Von Zipper are among his sponsors and Globe has even released a line of shoes named after him. Burrow has also had his own collection of clothing released through Billabong in the past, showing his versatility in and out of the surf.
He is currently ranked 5 in the ASP and is still chasing the number one World Champion title with ASP and living the dream.