Taj Burrow has grabbed victory at the O’Neill Coldwater Classic At Steamer Lane, Santa Cruz, the 34 year old Australian built up a rhythm and momentum all the way through this tricky contest.
His forehand manoeuvers were exemplary given the testing conditions and were the main driving force behind him taking the prize, overcoming Brazilian protégé Gabriel Medina and South African Travis Logie en route to facing Matt Wilkinson in the final.
Straight after the final, Burrow said “It happens sometimes where you never feel like you have the best heats. I was kind of in the zone. I never really had a good heat the whole event, but I still felt good. It’s such a tricky wave and I guess the only thing that helped was my wave count, I guess. That Final was the battle of the back-ups. We both stacked it on a couple and we were in a fluster. Wilko (Matt Wilkinson) fell on that last one and he would have got the score, but I’ll take it.”
This makes it Taj’s 2nd win of the season, which is only the second time he’s won two events in the same season. Perhaps with a bit more consistency he would’ve been able to be in the hunt going into the last contest in Hawaii, but alas it comes down to Joel Parkinson and Kelly Slater to fight it out for the world title at the ASP’s grand finale on the Pipeline break in Hawaii.
Surprise finalist Wilkinson was stoked with his performance this event, making his debut final, posting the highest heat score of the competition and securing his place on the WCT Circuit for another year, a great effort from the likable and colourful goofy footer.
He said “I was starting to freak out,I didn’t want to be left up to Hawaii needing points. Anything can happen there. There’s a bunch of locals in the contest so it’s not like any other event. You have to surf more rounds than usual and the more down the list you are the harder it is because you have to surf more rounds. I’m definitely happy to have these points heading in to Hawaii.”
The other surprise was Michel Bourez’s solid Semi Final finish overcoming Damien Hobgood and Jeremy Flores but was eventually beaten by Wilkinson’s rampant form and was left with a very healthy joint 3rd place.
South African Travis Logie pushed Taj all the way in his Semi Final heat, picking up a sick 8.33 score, but couldn’t find that crucial second wave to book his place in the final. This result gives him a fighting chance to retain his WCT status in Hawaii despite his pretty hopeless position before this event he now has vital points and great momentum coming into the final event.
Kelly Slater’s slightly disappointing result here means he is still 2nd behind Parko coming into Hawaii, but as we know anything can happen in Hawaii, when the pressure is on and with Kelly’s vast wealth of experience and titles, the advantage could well be with him
Taj is sponsored by Globe Shoes, the hottest brand to come out of Australia!