Taj’s Small Fries Delivers The Goods For Final Action
The ninth edition of Taj's Small Fries wrapped up in sensational style today in Yallingup, Western Australia. Competitors revelled in the fun 2-3ft peaks on offer at Shallows and performances reached their peak as the stakes were raised.
In the blue ribbon boys 16 & under division Sunshine Coast goofy-footer Reef Heazlewood edged local hope and red-hot favourite Shaun Manners (Margaret River, WA) in a closely contested final.
Setting the agenda early Heazlewood opened with a long series of smooth forehand arcs to lock in the highest score of the heat, a 7.75, on his first wave. Manners, stuck to the bowly right across the channel and had no shortage of waves in the 5-8pt range, but couldn't quite find the big score he needed to break Heazlewood's lead.
When Heazlewood linked together another long left, punctuated with a huge layback snap to finish, the prestigious title was his. Manners finished second, with Jack Thomas (Yallingup, WA) third and Ace Van Peer (Mandurah, WA) fourth.
"This is the second time I've come to Yallingup for the Small Fries and to now win the event is amazing." Heazlewood said.
"The waves, the people, everything is just so fun, I can't wait to come back." He said.
Emi Campbell (Denmark, WA) added a Taj's Small Fries trophy to her mantle when she accounted for Mia McCarthy (Margaret River, WA), Bailee Hastiee (Margaret River, WA) and Phoebe McGregor (Yallingup, WA) in the final of the 16 & Under girls division.
Campbell and McCarthy exchanged the lead a number of times before the national under 16 girls champ made the title her own with the highest score of the final, an 8.75, securing the win.
"I've been down here in Yallingup training with Claire Bevilacqua over the holidays and working hard towards this win." Campbell said.
In the final of the 14 & under boys two Bali-based surfers, Kian Martin and Sonny Perrussel, took on homegrown talents Luke Glover (Caloundra, QLD) and Cyrus Cox (Margaret Rover, WA).
With a pair of seven-point waves it was Perrussel who came out on top when the final hooter went, from smooth goofy-footer Cox, and Glover and Martin rounding out the minor placings.
Perrussel who has now competed twice in the Taj's Small Fries event, will be heading back to Canggu telling all his his friends about the competition.
"To travel here from Indonesia and surf in a final with Kian is great, but to win is even better." Perrussel said.
Martin wasn't upset with his fourth place finish for long though, and turned things around in the last heat of the day to demolish the field defending his title in the 12 & under division. With minutes remaining in the competition
Martin earned the event's only perfect 10, for smashing one of a million rights the young ripper caught over the course of the weekend. Wearing the top seed's red rash vest from day one Martin impressed everyone with his endless enthusiasm, cheeky smile and enormous talent.
Mirroring Martin's run through the two younger age brackets was South Coaster-turned-Bali resident Summa Longbottom, who cleaned up in both the 14 & under and 12 & under girls to steal two trophies, and the hearts of everyone involved with the contest.
At the presentation, held at this afternoon at the iconic Caves House, Shaun Manners was awarded the '"Wavegarden Innov8r Award" for the most innovative manoeuvre of the competition. While Kalbarri's Josh Stanton took home one of Taj's surfboards after being awarded the 'Most Promising Fry' of the event.
In its ninth year Taj's Small Fries was yet again a huge success and there were plenty of excited young surfers when talk turned to next year's 10th anniversary edition of West Australia's most prestigious junior surfing competition.
Burrow took the opportunity to thank everyone involved, "To all the sponsors, all the parents and most importantly the 100 plus surf stoked groms who took part, this has been another epic event."
2014 Taj's Small Fries Yallingup Final Results:
16 & Under Girls
Emi Campbell (14.50)
Mia McCarthy (12.90)
Bailee Hastie (10.75)
Phoebe McGregor (7.45)
16 & Under Boys
Reef Heazlewood (15.10)
Shaun Manners (13.60)
Jack Thomas (12.60)
Ace Van Peer (9.25)
14 & Under Girls
Summa Longbottom (11.20)
April McPherson (9.00)
Alice Field (7.90)
Lily Shepherd (3.25)
14 & Under Boys
Sonny Perrussel (14.50)
Cyrus Cox (13.35)
Luke Glover (11.35)
Kian Martin (10.2)
12 & Under Girls
Summa Longbottom (15.60)
Emma Cattlin (11.65)
Holly Minter (8.90)
Pemba Spargo (8.05)
12 & Under Boys
Kian Martin (18.50)
Josh Grange (13.75)
Seth Van Haeften (13.45)
Fin Coxx (10.75)
Taj Burrow & Emi Campbell (Denmark,WA). Woolacott
16 & under girls winner Emi Campbell (Denmark, WA) throwing it through the roof. Woolacott
Kian Martin (Bali) scored a perfect 10 on route to winning back to back 12 & under titles. Woolacott
Taj Burrow & Reef Heazlewood (QLD). Woolacott
16 & under boys winner Reef Heazlewood (QLD) dropping his wallet on the way to victory. Woolacott
Summa Longbottom (Bali) bagged a double, taking down the 12 & 14 girls divisions. Woolacott
Sonny Perrussel (Bali) was a standout in the 14 & under boys winning the stacked division. Woolacott
Shaun Manners (Margaret River) won the Wavegarden Innov8r Award. Woolacott
Taj Burrow celebrates the efforts of his signature event winners in Yallingup. Woolacott