CAN I HAVE FRIES WITH THAT?
Friday, January 11th 2013 (Yallingup, West Australia)
The future stars of Australian surfing have arrived in droves at Yallingup, West Australia, home break of the state's most successful-ever surfer, Taj Burrow, for the annual Taj's Small Fries.
Now in its eighth year, the tournament has attracted 110 entrants competing in six divisions (Boys and Girls U/16, U/14 and U/12) with all competitors vying for top honours in the event held in Burrow's legacy.
Pictured: Jacob Willcox
Burrow, 34, current world #6, is a perennial world title threat on the ASP (Association of Surfing) Men's World Tour. He is a Pipe Master, has won a total of 11 world championship events and finished runner-up to the World Title on two occasions (1999 and 2007).
'I was nine years old when I went in my first event and I was easily the youngest surfer, but now to see more than 100 kids around the same age and a little bit older, all of them just tearing, is amazing,' said Burrow.
'I've been lucky enough to travel the world and see a lot of really cool places, but I keep coming back to Yallingup and WA. It's always going to be my home and for a surfer, there're just so many options. It's unreal to see this event going from strength-to-strength, year after year.'
With a building one metre west-south-west swell on offer, Rounds 1 of competition was held at 'Shallows', a swell magnet located a kilometre or so north up the beach from Yallingup's main break.
Heat winners in the blue-ribbon U/16 boys division included a host of local favourites and reigning state and national champions; Jacob Willcox (Margaret River, WA), Shaun Manners (Margaret River, WA) and Kael Walsh (Dunsborough, WA).
Pictured: Reef Hazelwood
Visiting East Coast surfers Riley Laing (North Entrance, NSW) and Reef Hazelwood (Caloundra, QLD) also won heats, while Joe Van Dijk (Phillip Island, Vic) secured the highest two-wave combined heat total, distinguishing himself with 17.00 points out of a possible perfect 20.Walsh doubled up in the U/14s and blitzed his opening heat there also. Other 14s to do well included visiting internationals, Sonny Perrussel (Bali) and 10 year-old Kian Martin (Bali), and East Coaster, Karne Blackwell (Wollongong, NSW).
In 2013 each competitor is given two opportunities to surf before being eliminated and the new format requires the event be extended from two to three days. For the first time, Taj's Small Fries boasts a truly international field with Perrussel and Martin making the trek south from Bali to compete.
City of Busselton Mayor, Ian Stubbs, was among the VIP guests at the official launch of Taj's Small Fries at Caves House yesterday afternoon. Mayor Stubbs praised Surfing West Australia and congratulated Burrow for the ongoing success of the event.
He also recalled fondly the years of dedication Taj's mum put in at the local library and made mention of his father's musical talents.
'What a lot of people may not know is your dad (Vance) is a very good musician and I must tell you, my wife has a copy of your dad's CD. She plays it all the time,' Mayor Stubbs said.
Also in attendance were City of Busselton Councillor Jenny Green, CEO Mike Archer, Events Coordinator Shane Welsh, Manager of Community and Commercial Services Naomi Searle, and Fiona Reading of the South West Academy of Sport.
In total, 110 competitors from around Australia and Indonesia have travelled to Yallingup, West Australia, for the premier event that culminates on Sunday afternoon.
Full results from all divisions can be found at the end of each day on Surfing WA.
The 2013 Taj's Small Fries Yallingup is supported by the City of Buesselton, Billabong, Von Zipper, DaKine, Surfing Western Australia, Caves House & the Community of Yallingup.