SAN CLEMENTE, California/USA (Friday, February 22, 2013) – Taj Burrow (AUS), 34, has been a leader in the progression of surfing for over a decade. After joining the ASP WCT in 1998, Burrow has been a dominant force among the world’s best surfers and been one of only a few to continually reinvent himself year in an year out among an annual youth uprising. SURFER Magazine recently caught up with the veteran to talk about his career. This… is their story…
So this will be your 15th year on tour. In hindsight, if you could go back and change anything about your career, what would it be?
Yeah, looking back, it seemed like I qualified with ease in ’98. When I first came on, everyone on tour was really competitive and aggressive and it felt like everyone really wanted to take off your head. So my first year, I kind of stumbled through the season, and during my second year, I managed to finish in second-place behind Occy. I think I could have probably won a title that year had I applied myself a bit more, but Occy had the momentum and it was great to see him do that. But I remember being so shocked that I was even there on the tour my first year, that I never really thought that winning a world title was something I could do in the beginning. So when I finished second to Occy in ’99, without taking it all that seriously, I sort of thought that maybe a title would eventually just fall in my lap. But it wasn’t until about halfway through my career that I got serious. If I could go back and give myself some advice, I’d tell myself to take it a bit more serious in the beginning.
Since you came on in ’98, how have you seen the tour change over your career?
Everyone’s still really competitive, but we only want to take each other’s heads off in the water. Out of the water, we’re all pretty close and friendly. So that’s changed. As a whole, we’re a lot of more professional. We get a lot better treatment now, that’s for sure. We’re pretty spoiled. I see a lot of the young guys come on tour and they’re flying business class and getting royal treatment…and they’re only 18. There’s not a lot of roughing it for them. That’s changed a lot from when I came on for sure.
Would you say that the World Tour is in a much better place now?
Yeah, it’s 100 percent better. We’re so much more organized and more professional. We have a union now, we have a say. We have much better waves, more prize money. There’s a broadcast system where fans can watch us surf from anywhere in the world. It wasn’t really that long ago that you had to read about contest results in the magazine. Now, as soon as you get back home from an event, everyone knows all about it because they watched it happen live or on TV. We’re reaching more people and that’s definitely a good thing.
For the full interview log on to SURFER Magazine.