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Taj Ties The Knot At Snapper
Taj Burrow makes it three wins in a row, taking out the 2010 Quiksilver Pro.
By Casey Koteen
At 31, Taj Burrow may finally be ready to realize his full potential. After playing the bridesmaid over the years way too many times for his liking, Taj has come out of the gates in 2010 in full force, beating Jordy Smith at the Quiksilver Pro. It was his first season opening win, and his second World Tour win in row as he took out the Pipeline Masters, the last comp of 2009.
It was Smith's first WCT final, and though the crowd was expecting a tail throwing shoot out, the beginning of the heat was a sleeper. Jordy got the jitters out with a 6.83, unleashing a big air reverse on the end section. The South African stayed busy in the beginning, picking off smaller waves under Taj's priority. After waiting for twelve minutes, Taj took off on his first wave, but fell on a lipper.
The conditions had become funky and bumpy, but in some ways favored both surfers' aerial approaches. Taj found another wave a few minutes later, and again fell on his first hit. The momentum was squarely in Jordy's court, with TB looking a bit off kilter.
Above: Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast finals with Jordy Smith and Taj Burrow.
But that all changed with one set. Jordy had seen success against Dane Reynolds in the semis by sitting a bit further in and picking off some running double ups. He was using the same strategy against Taj, and so far it was working out. But having just caught a smaller wave, the first real set of the final marched in, and Taj was all alone on the outside. He bashed the hell out of the lip with his signature lip hack, and got back in the game with a 7.4.
Jordy was still leading at this point, but not two minutes later another set pulsed in, and somehow Taj was in position again. He took apart the lip with a series of floaters and fin wafts, although looked a little sketchy on a few of the hits. It rang in a 6.17, which put him into the lead for the first time in the final. More important than that, it shifted the momentum back his way.
And it would only continue. With ten minutes to go, Jordy only needed an eight and change, a score he could get in his sleep. But then fate intervened. He took off on a lumpy and bumpy insider, and snapped his board dropping in. It would cost him valuable time, at the worst possible time.
Jordy was able to make it in quickly to get his backup board, but as he was paddling back out yet another set, this one bigger than the last, stood up. And again TB was there. He sped through three tight arcing cutbacks, but couldn't close the deal on the inside, falling on a lip slide. Still, it earned an 8.17, the highest score of the final so far. It didn't completely seal the deal, but after Jordy wasted priority on a smaller one, things didn't look good for the young Saffa. The final would end as it began, slow, with Taj shadowing Jordy to get the win.
"I'm so happy right now!" exclaimed Taj from up on the stage. "I'm normally pretty inconsistent, I've surprised myself.
“I didn’t feel like I surfed my best in the final,” he continued. “I just did what it took to win."
Could it be Taj's year to elbow his way to his first world title? A bit of history points that way, with three of the last four winners of the Snapper event going on the win the world title that year. The world will see if Taj can keep his momentum at stop number two of the ASP World Tour at Bells Beach in a few weeks.
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