Profile Q&A: Taj Burrow, Pro Surfer

Occupation: Professional Surfer

Visa type: Australian and U.S. passport

Where are you living right now? Bali, Indonesia

What are you currently up to on the tour?

I just finished the 2010 season at Pipeline in Hawaii! Currently training for 2011, where we start on the Gold Coast, Australia, Feb 26.

When did you first visit the U.S.?

At age six. My parents are originally from Pacific Beach in San Diego, CA.

What are your memories of the first time you visited the U.S. for a competition?

I was 13 and I traveled with the Australian team to compete against schools in California. We were billeted out to stay with local kids our age and their families. It was awesome!

What inspires you?

Watching surf, skate and snowboard movies inspires me. People wrecking themselves trying to make a huge air — I love seeing that shit.

What is your favorite city to visit in the U.S.? Why?

I love both L.A. and NYC. I think NYC has a lot to offer — loved my last trip there. So many cool things to see and places to visit. I can only handle big cities for a short period, though. I get claustrophobic. I need to be near the ocean.

When you’re not working, what can you be found doing?

Still surfing everyday, sourcing cool new tracks to slap onto recent footage I’ve shot. I’ve been getting into playing tennis lately, too.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In Australia, bouncing back between East and West and raising a family in my dream house. But still travelling as much as possible.

Do you have a favorite quote?

Thought you’d never ask.

What are your tips when flying to and from Australia?

I have lots! Pick a check-in person who looks friendly and likely to get along with. Also, throw your backpack on the ground next to the scales to take the weight out of your surfboard bag.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

Always looks at the positives. And have fun doing whatever it is you’re doing.

Do you remember your first surfboard? Where do you reckon it is now?

Yes, it was my dad’s old board. He cut the tail off because I wanted it to be shorter. It looked awful, but I loved it!

What is a typical ‘day in the life” for you on competition day?

Wake early, stretch, eat something light and healthy, drink a coconut and head to comp.

What competition win of yours stands out the most in your memory?

The Billabong Pipe masters in Hawaii. It’s the biggest surfing event on the planet and always will be! And I beat Kelly Slater in the final. Doesn’t get much better [smiles].

As hard as it may be to put in words, what do you love about surfing?

Every surf and every single wave is different. Depending on what mood you’re in determines how you approach each wave and each section that’s thrown at you.

Do you have any competition superstitions?

Yeah, I have to say good luck to my opponent before we paddle out. If not, I feel it’s bad luck and I’ll lose.

What goes through your mind when you’re paddling onto a massive wave?

Don’t hesitate — 100 percent commitment!

Snapper Rocks QLD, Australia – Quiksilver Pro win! (Photo courtesy Taj Burrow)

What’s the best way to celebrate a win?

With friends and beer.

What’s the best way to get over a loss?

Get away from the contest, and go watch a movie. Go surfing the next day with nothing on your mind except smashing the next event. Don’t dwell on the one you just lost.

Tell us about your clothing line at Billabong that has just come out? How did you come up with designs?

My friend Sam Mcintosh at Stab magazine, as well as Billabong designers, does all the hard work. I’m just lucky enough to come along and pick my favourite items.

What is your favorite surf film to watch? What is your favorite surf film you’re in?

To watch, probably “Modern Collective.” That I’m in, Billabong’s “Still Filthy.”

Who are a couple of young Australian surfers who you think have the potential to make it internationally?

Jack Robinson and Julian Wilson.

Who are two surfers from anywhere in the world you look up to, and why?

Jake Paterson. We grew up together, with him being older, and on the tour I really idolised him.
Shane Dorian. He’s been my favourite since I was a kid, and seeing him charge the biggest waves on the planet is so amazing to watch. He’s a good guy.

While on tour, you’re in and out of airports and hotels, and I imagine not much is consistent. What are some of the ways you keep it together and stay focused?

Just keep busy, surf even when its small, play tennis, train, stretch.

What beach in the U.S. do you reckon has the prettiest girls?

When I compete in the U.S. Open at Huntington beach there seems to be a lot of hot girls. Newport is also pretty loaded.

What are your three favourite breaks in the U.S.?

Lower Trestles, Rincon, Topanga.

What advice do you have for up and coming Australians surfers who want to become pro?

Surfing all kinds of conditions. You have to excel in every kind of surf whether it’s 15-foot or two-foot.

What is your favourite memory of the late, great Andy Irons?

When he’d get worked up about something or someone, he was so passionate it was awesome. He always made me and others laugh so hard. He was so entertaining.

Is there a surf you guys had together that you remember best?

In Mexico, filming for the Billabong movie, “Trilogy.” Me, Andy and Joel [Parkinson] scored some perfect right points.

–Billabout staff

Check out Taj Burrow’s Billabout photo gallery here.

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