14TH TAJ'S SMALL FRIES OFF TO A SIZZLING START AT SHALLOWS
The 14th Billabong Taj’s Small Fries presented by Flight Centre and City of Busselton kicked off quite literally in Taj Burrow’s front yard this morning, with surfers from across Australia ripping into perfect grommet sized 1-2 feet waves at Shallows in Yallingup.
Non-elimination round one heats set the tone for an exciting day of surfing, as competitors tore into WA’s biggest and most prestigious junior surfing event.
Taj’s Small Fries boasts an impressive honour roll of past winners, including the likes of Soli Bailey (NSW), Matt Banting, Kai Hing (NSW), Reef Haezlewood (QLD), Jack Robinson (WA), Jacob Willcox and Felicity Palmateer (WA) to name a few.
The event has become a genuine rite of passage for some of Australia’s best young surfers over the years and that trend continued today.
Event host and WA’s most successful professional surfer, Taj Burrow was on hand to watch and commentate some heats.
“Small Fries just keeps getting better and better, I know I say that each year, but it’s true,” said Burrow. “It’s pumping for the groms right now and I’m stoked to see there are some fun little waves on offer.”
Lawson Thomas (Willagee, WA) lit up the first heat of the day with some electric backhand surfing in the 14 & Under Boys division. Making the most of light and variable conditions on hand, Thomas posted an excellent 8.00 and backed it up with a 7.00 to post a combined two-wave total of 15.00 (from a possible 20).
“The waves might be a bit small out there, but it's super consistent,” said Thomas. “Small Fries is my favourite event and I’m stoked to get a win in the first heat of the day.”
Ned Hart (Dunsborough, WA), Josh Willcox (Margaret River, WA) and Jesse Seidmiogrodzki (Wembley Downs) were also in fine form , posting big numbers on their way to Round 2 of the 14 & Under Boys division.
Finn Sunderland (Margaret River, WA) was one of the best performing surfer on day one, posting an impressive two wave combination of 17.00 (from a possible 20) which included a 9.25 and 8.75 in the 12 & Under Boys division.
“This is my second Small Fries and it's fun waves today,” said Sunderland. “ I was just looking for some double ups and I'm stoked to get some big scores."
Competing at his maiden Small Fries event, Max McGillvray (Evans Head, NSW), posted a perfect 10 point ride in the 10 & Under Micro Groms division, showing off a devastating array of back manoeuvres on his way to the ‘Air Asia Wave of the Day'.
“This is my first time to Western Australia and the waves have been so fun on the trip,” said McGillvray. “Taj is one of my surfing hero’s and it’s crazy to be here competing in his backyard.”
Isi Campbell (Denmark, WA), Willow Hardy (Margaret River, WA) and Ruby Berry (Augusta, WA) smashed their way into Round 2 of the 14 & Under Girls division showing plenty of flair and style in the process.
Conditions are set to improve tomorrow with a large period swell set to push into the SW corner of WA. Light conditions are forecast for much of tomorrow as well.
Taj’s Small Fries sits alongside Parko’s Grom Stomp (Sunshine Coast, QLD), The Oz Grom Cup (Coffs Harbour, NSW) and Occy’s Grom Comp (Gold Coast, QLD), to form the Billabong Bloodlines Series.
As well as three days of red-hot surfing action, there will be no shortage of fun and interactive opportunities for competitors and families to enjoy throughout the event.
The 2019 Billabong Taj's Small Fries, presented by Flight Centre & City of Busselton will be based in Yallingup on WA's South West coast from Friday 11th - Sunday 13th January.
Live heat scores and results will be streamed from Taj's Small Fries via www.surfingwalive.com.au
Spectators and competitors are encouraged to interact via Instagram: Follow @surfing_wa, @billabong_australia & @citybusselton and be sure to use the hashtags #TajSmallFries.
Stay tuned to www.surfingwa.com.au for news, photos and updates relating to the Taj's Small Fries.
About Taj's Small Fries Yallingup:
Taj’s Small Fries, is WA's biggest and best junior surfing event named after Yallingup resident and international surfing star Taj Burrow. The event is celebrating its 14th consecutive year in 2019 after first starting back in 2006. Taj's Small Fries continually attracts some of the best junior surfing talent from across Australasia to Yallingup in the South-West of Western Australia.