THE HOT SEAT: Taj Burrow Straps Himself In.
Taj Burrow is one of the hottest surfers in the world. Period. Ask his peers or any would-be expert if he has the talent to clinch a World Championship and he’ll hardly bat an eye before spraying you with affirmations. But apparently, there is one tiny obstacle preventing him from reaching the top: girls. Mr. Burrow, it seems, has a severe problem turning down advances from the fairer sex according to his tour mates. In fact, even longtime tour veterans say they’ve never seen anything like it. So we caught up with Taj in Huntington Beach during the early rounds of the U.S. Open to see just how severe his problem is.
SURFER: Taj, we know there are a lot of things that can sidetrack guys on the tour. But apparently you’re becoming famous for letting the ladies throw you for a loop.
They do. They just do my head in.
Well, I’m from this tiny little town in Southwest Australia and there really aren’t any girls down there. So now that I’ve been brought out into the world and see what they actually look like…well I get pretty excited. I guess I should try to focus on the job at hand but it’s pretty tough sometimes.
So you weren’t a lady-killer growing up?
Ah man, I’ve never been a lady-killer. They’re the ones who kill me. I lose it around them. It’s a serious weakness.
And has that “weakness” ever cost you a heat?
Not directly…but it does happen. There’ve been a few times when I’ve spotted really cute girls down the beach and so, I’ll walk way down their way on my way to my heat just to check em out. Then next thing I know I find myself paddling out in the impact zone just getting hammered, getting out of rhythm. It’s not good.
So being here in Huntington Beach, is this tough for you?
Oh man, yeah. The girls here really know how to take care of themselves. The U.S. Open is a really important event for me (Laughs). I love it. It’s pretty entertaining just sitting on the pier with me mates checking the whole thing out.
You just had your first trip to Vegas last week too. That must’ve been a trip for a guy from the Outback.
Yeah. Oh my gosh. A few of my friends went last year and they’ve been talking it right up ever since, so I was dying to go. Plus, I love gambling. That place was just amazing. We drove the four hours from here and I got so excited when we hit the state line and saw all those casinos. It was a little premature but I was losing it.
You thought the state line was Vegas?
Oh yeah. I was freaking on it, but then when we got to the real deal I was just in awe. The place lit up the whole sky. I was just dazed the whole time. I lost a lot of money, but yeah, I had the most fun I’ve ever had. It was sick.
Were the Vegas ladies working for you?
(Laughs) Well, they were working…but not for me.
Where’s the easiest place on tour to get sidetracked by girls?
Everywhere is pretty solid when you’re from Western Australia.
Well you just came from South Africa, how was that?
Nuts. The girls are young though and every year we go back it seems like they’re still the same age. It’s pretty wild. Even J-bay has a bunch of cute girls. I love their accents too.
California surfers often nab wives in Brazil. What’s your take on that place?
You’re definitely outnumbered there, so it probably makes it into the top five off that alone.
That’s in the top two or threeseriously sexy girls there. It’s crazy.
And with that being the longest leg of the tour, it must be like getting locked in the candy store for someone like you.
Exactly (Laughs). It’s pretty cool. The WQS leg is in August, when the beaches in France are at their best. So that’s a good time.
Do you have some mates backing you up in the trenches?
Well, the Aussie guys are maniacs. Darren O’Rafferty’s been doing all right. But, well…that’s a tough one.
You can’t really answer that can you?
Exactly. I’ve got to keep my boys out of trouble.
So do you think you’ll ever actually be looking for a girlfriend?
Gawwwd yeah. I need a girlfriend so bad. Now.
What will it take?
I’d say probably a girl who knows nothing at all about surfingsome librarian or something. I’m so sick of meeting girls at contests that I actually introduce myself with a different name just to see if they’re still interested. But yeah, she’d have to be able to hold a conversation. She’d have to know how to travel. Of course, she’s got to be cute.
You think that’ll cure you though?
It’ll help, that’s for sure.
Well good luck then.
- Chris Mauro