”Slater will nail it.
Taj Burrow’s 2003 World Title Wrap-Up
Before Brazil, Taj Burrow was sitting at number three on the ASP World Championship Tour ratings. With only three events remaining it’s little wonder the exciting Western Australian was leaking froth from the corners of his mouth. He’d never done worse than semi finals in Brazil and a similar result this time around would put him well within contention of his maiden World Title going into Hawai’i. But then disaster. The day before his heat, Taj was struck by a crippling flu, and on the morning he was due to surf could barely get out of bed. In playful little rights, the upset of the contest took place–Taj was eliminated by big local goofy Renan Rocha and subsequently handed his worst result this year when he needed his best. “I was devastated, said TB when TWS contacted him back at home. “I smashed my board to pieces, and I never do that. It’s history now that Kelly Slater went on to take the event in Brazil, extending his tour lead going into Hawai’I, and Taj believes he may well be unstoppable. Still, we decided to get TB’s rundown on how the top five will deal with the last two events and what to look out for in Hawai’i. This is what he had to say …
1. Kelly Slater: “I kind of think Kelly’s gonna go stupid* and blow everyone away. He’ll nail it in my opinion. I think he’s gonna get to Hawai’i and go to Sunset Beach and surf it a lot. He’s never had a result there, so I think he’ll be out there getting a lot of practice in. He sure doesn’t need the practice at Pipe or Backdoor that’s for sure. But he’ll practice at Sunset, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he wins the World Title there.
2. Andy Irons : “Andy could actually rattle Kelly in Hawai’i. Geez, it’s gonna be tough. For both Hawai’ian events all the top guys in the ‘CTs are gonna draw wildcards. Kelly, Andy, me, and wildcards in Hawai’i are the toughest heats in the world. Andy’s gonna have the whole island behind him, too, and combined with the fact he surfs so amazing there, and it’s a place where his confidence is at its highest, he’s got everything going for him. It could rattle Kelly for sure, but then again Kelly kinda thrives on that sort of pressure.
3. Mick Fanning : “Mick gets stronger in Hawai’i every year. I’ve seen him put in some strong performances at Sunset and Pipe, so he’ll be hungry to do well again.
4. Himself : “I hope to do well, but to be honest I’m not as concerned as I was before Brazil. In saying that, though, the idea of dropping down the ratings drives me mad, so I’ll be hoping to finish the year with a couple of good results.
5. Joel Parkinson : “He’s amazing over there. I know he’s not completely stoked on how this year went. I was talking to him and he was saying, ‘This year’s exactly like last year, I’ve got all these seventeenths, and I said, ‘Well you finished last year by winning at Sunset,’ and he was grinning like, ‘Yeah right.’ So he’s the defending champ at Sunset, and he got that crazy one at Backdoor last year, too. He’s getting more confident with the place and could finish by going stupid as well.
*Going stupid=very very good.
by Adam Blakey