I’m about to walk down the trail at Lowers to watch the contest. Live. Yep, fuck it, I wanna watch some surfing. And make sure there is still free beer at contests. I remember Jay Larson said he surfed because there was “Free beer at contests” in an old issue of Surfer Magazine. I need to make sure that’s still happening. I have a fear it is not. (Update: there is!)
Another thing that has me kicking rocks while walking down the trail is the absence of Taj Burrow. The weight of that statement is burying me alive. It’s not right. Just the other night I had some dinner in San Clemente (where it’s highly likely you’ll run into a few of the world’s best grabbing Acai after hitting the gym). And on this night I did see a few. I saw Joel Parkinson drinking red wine. And I saw Nat Young passing by the restaurant, but he had opened toed shoes on and I don’t think the restaurant we were eating in allowed that. At this point in my life I don’t even know who’s right or wrong in that situation. In this instance, Nat did not stay. But it got me thinking back to last year, Taj’s last event at Trestles. Why? Well, because one night, he was leaving dinner with some friends. I think he lost earlier that day. But he was not glum. Or despondent. He was Taj. Smiling and enjoying his fucking night. Our two friend groups staring each other down, everyone’s eyes filled with Friday Night Lights. There was nothing to do but go sing Karaoke. Both groups aimed in the same directions, and what happens after is blurry, but everyone was there. Stephanie Gilmore and Laura Enever did a nice rendition of something. I remember that. And all was well. It was good old fashioned fun at the Lowers Pro.
I bring this random night up, because, frankly, I miss Taj. I miss his enthusiasm for surfing. Competitively and non competitively. Because with Taj, his love of it all didn’t stop when he put his board down and took his jersey off. He lives like he’s always surfing Rocky Point. Or Lowers. Or home. With zest and panache. Sick style. The intensity displayed in flashes, but his smile always shining in between. And before I start shedding a tear, I will leave and go down to the event and I will see who on this Corporate Tour will take the torch. I like watching surfing. I’m going down there. But I want to see who can make these heats a little hotter. And the San Clemente nights still fun. Because right now, with no Taj in town, I’m considering a movie in my room tonight. —Travis
Watch Taj in Panama is Certain: