Taj Victorious, Finally

It was a trying contest. The two foot of southerly swell seemed to stumble onto the Trestles cobblestones, a far cry from the impeccable walls to which we have grow accustomed. This is not to say, however, that the winning campaign of Taj Burrow was down to pure luck-of-the-waves.

Burrow had been solid throughout, and perhaps had sneaked marginally under the radar due to his absence at the very top of the ASP rankings. Throughout the event his surfing and strategy sharpened, culminating in a closely fought final against fellow Australian, Julian Wilson.

“I couldn’t be happier,” Burrow said. “I really put so much effort in to this event and it just feels so incredible when it unfolds and goes your way. I felt like the good waves came my way and I was just in the zone. I was hoping to get things snowballing and I never felt like I put together my best surfing. I was just finding my feet more and more each heat. My board kept getting better and better and it felt great towards the end. That’s how you want to win an event, peak at the right time."

Trestles has since its inception been one of the most sought after of 'CT events, and as a pioneer of the progressive, the trophy must have been painfully absent on Burrow's mantle piece.

“It feels so good to tick this one off the list, I really wanted it more than any,” Burrow said. “I’ve had two second places and one really close one with Kelly (Slater) that I lost in the last minute. That one tore me up for a long time. I just couldn’t be happier that I got it.” Taj Burrow

Julian Wilson was electric throughout the entirety of the Hurley Pro, launching massive aerials and fully-committed turns on both the lefts and rights of Lowers while posting some of the highest scores of competition. Wilson would get off to an early lead in the Hurley Pro Final, but was unable to put a stop to Burrow’s efforts, finishing runner-up overall.

“It’s a great result and I would have rather gone one better,” Wilson said. “It was pretty tricky out there and I made too many mistakes and wasn’t in rhythm. Strategy was really important, but also, I want to go big and I wasn’t looking for the perfect wave. I thought I could do something big on something that wasn't that perfect. Overall, it’s a good result and I had a good day. I want to keep moving up and win the next one.”

Following an average result in Tahiti, Jordy Smith reasserted himself as a title threat, consistently posting high heat scores before Taj put an abrupt stop to his run in the Semi FInals.

“TB got that first one and that set him up for the rest of the heat,” Smith said. “I felt like I didn’t have to do much to get the big scores. All I needed was an opportunity, but I surfed my best and maybe over-surfed some waves. I did the best I could and I’m happy with my performance. It would have been nice to make the Final, but all around it was a good contest and I’m really frothing for France.”

The other Semi Finalist was Michel Bourez who earned the days highest heat total (17.9) in the Quarterfinals, with a classic display of power surfing which befitted his nickname.

With 11-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 41, finishing equal 13th at the Hurley Pro at Trestles, two-time ASP World Champion Mick Fanning (AUS), 32, has taken over poll position on the 2013 ASP World Title Race via his 9th place finish. While Fanning’s Round 5 exit marks his poorest result of 2013, he’s looking to reset for a strong finish entering the final leg of the ASP WCT season.

“I came up a bit short in my heat yesterday and then I just made one mistake at the start of the heat and Travis (Logie) got that 8 and there wasn’t anything to fight back,” Fanning said. “Sometimes that happens. For me, to be bettering results, I had to get a 3rd and it was still a lot of work to do, but it would have been good to get more of a lead. This is my first throwaway for the year and it might be a good time to reset and refocus moving in to these last few events. Going in to these last three events, you want to win events and I’m just going to throw everything at it.”

1 - Taj Burrow (AUS) 17.07
2 - Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.97

SF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.83 def. Jordy Smith (ZAF) 11.10
SF 2: Julian Wilson (AUS) 17.40 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.43
QF 1: Jordy Smith (ZAF) 15.67 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 12.33
QF 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.93 def. Patrick Gudauskas (USA) 13.70
QF 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 17.90 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 14.00
QF 4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 15.64 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 13.04

Heat 1: Kai Otton (AUS) 11.50 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.83
Heat 2: Taj Burrow (AUS) 15.60 def. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 14.47
Heat 3: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.23 def. Mick Fanning (AUS) 11.74
Heat 4: Josh Kerr (AUS) 14.10 def. Adam Melling (AUS) 12.93

1 - Mick Fanning (AUS) 41,900 points
2 - Kelly Slater (USA) 40,700 points
3 - Jordy Smith (ZAF) 35,700 points
4 - Taj Burrow (AUS) 35,400 points
5 - Joel Parkinson (AUS) 32,450 points
6 - Josh Kerr (AUS) 29,600 points
7 - Julian Wilson (AUS) 28,850 points
8 - Adriano de Souza (BRA) 27,500 points
9 - C.J. Hobgood (USA) 27,200 points
10 - Michel Bourez (PYF) 26,500 points
10 - Nat Young (USA) 26,500 points