Billabong Bloodlines Girls & Taj Burrow Unleashed In Western Australia
It is the 13th year that the legendary Taj Burrow has run his Small Fries even in association with his sponsor Billabong and with the support of Surfing Western Australia. Each year the vibe from the groms (and Taj) is cranked up. It’s a couple of days were the groms run free and get caught up with the frivolity and fun times that Taj unleashes. This year he took on the role of hairdresser sculpting some of the groms new mohawk hairstyles.
Yallingup in the southwest put on spectacular summer conditions with two-to-three feet of perfect, crystal clear ramps and fun, yet challenging sections for all the surfers in the divisions that included 10 and under mixed, under 12s, under 14s and under 16s.
For the first time Smith’s Reef and its barrelling rights and long-running lefts was the location for the finals. Taj himself jumped between getting amongst the waves with the groms, games and commentating at his signature, hometown event.
“It’s such a dreamy day down here, I was a bit nervous this morning when we made the call, but the waves have really turned on,” said Taj. “It’s just been the perfect location for a comp, I can’t believe that we’ve never held the event here (Smith’s Reef) before. I couldn’t be happier with how things have gone in 2018 and long live the Small Fries!”
Emma Cattlin (Yallingup, WA) went also went back-to-back, winning the 16 & Under Girls division ahead of Maddie Cawood (Margaret River, WA) in a seesawing battle.
Emma proved she’s one of WA’s next big things with another classic display of power surfing. Finishing on a combined total of 15.85 (from a possible 20), Emma left a much-improved Cawood chasing an 8.36 or better to steal the win away.
“I’m so happy, Smith’s is my local break and I was so stoked to hear that we’d be surfing the finals out here,” said Emma. “It’s my final year competing in the Small Fries and winning again means everything to me, this is where I started competing as a little kid and is cool I can finish as a winner.”
Zali Hewson (Margaret River, WA) scored an excellent 9.00 (from a possible 10) on her way to winning the 14 & Under Girls final. Using her smooth flowing style, Hewson posted a 16.25 (from a possible 20) to defeat Lilliana Bowrey (Sunshine Coast, QLD), Rosie Smart (Coffs Harbour, NSW) and Lilli Cox (Margaret River, WA).
“I’m just focusing on trying my best and having some fun out in the water and I’m so happy that it all came together for me out there then,” said Hewson.
Willow Hardy (Margaret River, WA) drew on her strong surfing pedigree to claim her third consecutive victory in the 12 & Under Girls division. Drawing some great lines on her forehand and backhand, Hardy posted a combined total of 11.65 (from a possible 20), leaving her opposition chasing good scores when the siren sounded.
“It’s so amazing to have won again, I feel relieved because all the girls surf so well now,” said Hardy. “The waves have been really fun and it was a great call to come to Smith’s, I’m not a big fan of Yallingup Main Break and today has been really fun.”
Taj paddled out with the 10 & Under finalists, trading waves with some of the youngest and most exciting young surfers in the event.
*Taj’s Small Fries is the second stop on Billabong’s Bloodlines Series, which alongside Parko’s Grom Stomp (Sunshine Coast, QLD), The Oz Grom Cup (Coffs Harbour, NSW) and Occy’s Grom Comp (Gold Coast, QLD), provide a one of a kind experience for Australia’s next crop of emerging surfers and future World Champions.
Photos below by Woolacot / Surfing Western Australia
FINAL RESULTS 2018:
16 & Under Girls:
1. Emma Cattlin (Yallingup, WA) – 15.85
2. Maddie Cawood (Margaret River, WA) – 13.75
14 & Under Girls:
1. Zali Hewson (Margaret River, WA) – 16.25
2. Lilliana Bowrey (Sunshine Coast, QLD) – 13.25
3. Rosie Smart (Coffs Harbour, NSW) – 8.70
4. Lilli Cox (Margaret River, WA) – 8.50
12 & Under Girls:
1. Willow Hardy (Margaret River, WA) – 11.65
2. Kaleisha Launders (Margaret River, WA) – 8.90
3. Ruby Berry (Augusta, WA) – 7.35
4. CJ Sheahan (Margaret River, WA) – 4.80