Taj and I first met on the top of Mt. Everest. It was a grueling mission and the food was crap, but the view was so romantic! No, in reality, we met many years ago through our mates Shane Moran and surf photographer John Respondeck. And then things really solidified for us after my first visit to Wild West Oz and Taj HQ.
Today, we are a part of a motley group of mates from all over Australia that have a habit of reuniting regularly through some kind of story-worthy adventure that incorporates trouble, travel, surf, girls, karaoke, sinking tins and just generally talking shit. Having not seen Taj’s face in a minute, I recently caught up with him to see how post-Tour life was treating him.
So, first off, where are you right now and what are you doing?
I’m at home in West Oz (Western Australia), in bed watching a recorded episode of Ray Donovan and banging out these answers for you.
Take me through your day yesterday.
Yesterday was good, although it started kinda rough. I took a friend surfing on my jet ski and he asked how it’s been running, I answered saying I’ve never had a problem. But sure enough, the battery dies and it doesn’t start up at the boat ramp at 6AM. And it was freezing! End up bolting to town getting a new one and getting a midday session that was really fun.
Who and what inspires you daily?
I’m inspired by Mick Fanning and what he’s been through lately. The guy is a weapon. What he’s been through and what he’s achieved is beyond incredible. Daily, I’m inspired by people who do what they love. I know of a few wild sea dogs who live off the land and survive on bare essentials just to surf uncrowded waves that are off the maps. I love that shit.
Did you want to be a surfer when you grew up? And did anyone in particular influence you when you were growing up?
I certainly did. Surfing was everything to me. Mainly my parents. They just always repeatedly told me to do what I love.
What is the best and worst elements of being on tour?
The pros are obviously getting paid to do what I love! Surfing in contests is incredibly fun, we get paid very well and we get the lineup cleared for us at perfect locations around the world. And winning is an incredible feeling. The cons are obvious too—the travel. It’s the pits. I hate it. I hate planes and huge numbers of people rushing to their destinations. I feel claustrophobic in airports. I need clean air and big open spaces.
Favorite leg of the tour and why?
Fiji. Fiji is paradise, and Cloudbreak is the best wave at any size! I love it.
Is it hard to suppress your warrior competitive spirit now that you’re retired?
Not so far, I’m not feeling competitive right now. I really disliked the aggressive free surf sessions around your events. When you break it down, I was trying to catch waves amongst the worlds 32 best hasslers! Not into that [laughs].
A photo posted by Taj Burrow (@tajamos) on
Can you describe the feeling you felt when you told the world you were over it?
Greatest relief and weight off my shoulders I’ve ever experienced… I got teary with happiness.
You just had your little girl Arabella Rose, that must have brought changes to your world.
Sure has. 90% the reason for my retirement. I don’t want to miss a thing she does… I have never felt love like this.
What is on the agenda at TB HQ at the moment?
Peppa pig during the day, then red wine by the fire place for mum & dad by night.
In and out of the water, what’s it like being in a heat with Kelly Slater?
He is annoying! He tries to get in your head by singing and shit.
Now that you’re cruising everyday, drinking wine by the fireplace in your PJs like Hugh Hefner… what’s next for Taj Burrow?[Laughs] I’ve done enough damage to body and brain since announcing retirement, I think. I’m getting back on the program of looking after myself. All I’m after is good waves. I’m on the hunt BIG TIME.
Favorite trip and why?
Boat trip through Indo with mates, that’s the best!
Just got back from a long trip and you’re flying down the highway to Yallingup with the windows down. The weather is perfect and a little swell just hit the coast. What are you listing too?[Laughs] Epic! I have 2 fav tracks at the moment and all my mates have been giving me shit for flogging them! “Against It” by Corners and “Sticky Hulks” by Thee Oh Sees.
Any closet talents or hobbies?
Nope, I ain’t good at anything but surfing.
You have been to NYC several times. What do you love about it?
Eating and drinking and pestering you to take us out on the town for free drink.
You ever been to Montauk? If not, how do you imagine it?
Never been but I see a lot of my friends spending time up there. Looks fun! I’ll tick it off my list soon enough.
Favorite surfboard and surf spot?
Mayhem, at home in Yallingup.
Do you ever just take the single fin or the log out and get ya toes on the nose?
Not so much logging, but I’ve started riding all sorts of tricky little fun boards. It’s changed my life [laughs]. I’m loving the freedom.
A video posted by Taj Burrow (@tajamos) on
Any hectic shark stories?
Oh god, there’s been way too many sightings recently out here. I’m definitely a bit freaked on sharks lately.
Surfing in the Olympics. Your thoughts?
What’s is your deepest darkest secret?
I’ve been watching the Bachelor. It’s so bad it’s good!
Best advice you ever were ever given?
Have a shit ton of fun, life is short! Reckon I listened?
When you coming out to Montauk for a beer?
Soon, soon. Are they free? Kidding!
Keep up with Taj and his not-so-miserable attempt at being happily retired and with newborn child over on his Instagram, @tajamos. Thanks Taj.