“I’m free! Best feeling ever! So many trips to come!”
This is what Taj Burrow wrote me when I congratulated him on his plans for retirement from World Tour competition. Taj has been competing on surfing’s World Tour for 18 years. And as we speak, he’s probably doing a Skull Drag in Fiji where he’s celebrating with fellow competitors during the lay days of what will be his final event on the tour. Good for him. And a fine way to send off one of the most influentially important surfers in our history.
With a new daughter and a reinvigorated zest for surfing and living, Taj is hanging up the jersey, but he’s far from done adding to a near perfect career. We actually dubbed him The World’s Greatest Professional Surfer of All-Time for his unending influence and authenticity to an activity/sport/lifestyle that is in serious flux. While Kelly and his wave pool and world titles are there in the mainstream eye, we have our Taj. Forever and always. And while he never won a World Title, his impact on our lives has been arguably greater than any world champ to the core surf fan of this generation. Hardly a debate if you ask me.
We recently got the invite to tag along on a trip to Panama with Taj and good friend Dion Agius — perhaps a glimpse at “retirement” for Taj. What we saw and experienced was nothing different than we’ve always known: world’s best surfer, world’s best dude. Ripping, smiling, laughing and pinching himself at being gifted the opportunity to inspire us all with his surfing and living. It’s all here, you can see it in his perfect railwork, tube riding and nonchalant kickouts. We love Taj and never won’t.