• Yallingup Serves It Up On Opening Day of Taj's Small Fries


The ninth edition of Taj’s Small Fries kicked off today with Yallingup’s iconic main break delivering perfect 4-5ft conditions for the 110+ competitors. Light offshore winds and a solid WSW groundswell provided the best junior surfers from around the country and overseas with plenty of opportunities to put on a show, and there were plenty of big scores and standout performances on day one.

Strong performances in the blue ribbon boys 16 & under division – which boasts an honour roll of past winners that includes modern standouts, Matt Banting (NSW), Dean Bowen (NSW) and Soli Bailey (NSW) – were today dominated by Reef Heazlewood (QLD), Moses Le Grice (WA) and Margaret River’s Shaun Manners.

On the girls’ side of the draw Yallingup local Phoebe McGregor, Mia McCarthy (Margaret River), Bailee Hastie (Margaret River) and Emi Campbell (Denmark) were surfers who stood out in the big surf.

Campbell, the current U16 national champion looked particularly strong, unleashing an arsenal of powerful forehand manoeuvres.

It turns out Taj Burrow isn’t the only Yallingup surfer supporting local talent, with former women’s WCT competitor Claire Bevilacqua in Campbell’s corner.

The boys 14 & under divisions shone as conditions turned on during their first round, with Jolan Bonelli (Margaret River), Luke Glover (QLD), Fletcher Llanwarne (Sorrentto), and last year’s 12 & under winner, Bali’s Kian Martin showing they’ll be forces to be reckoned with as we move deeper into the contest.

Martin, has returned to Yallingup with hopes to defend his 12's title and compete in the 14 boys division for the first time, admitted to finding the water colder and more dolphin-filled than his native Bali, but showed no trouble adjusting.

Competitors are asked to meet at Yallingup again tomorrow morning, with competition commencing at 7.20am with round two of the 14 boys.

The swell is forecast to drop overnight which could result in competition moving up the beach to Shallows, which according to Burrow has, “the best sandbanks I’ve seen there in years”, so stay tuned for plenty more action.