Speakers Profile - Taj Burrow

Travels From:
Regional Western Australia

Fee Range: E

One of the most popular surfers in the world, as his sheer surfing skills have been featured in three movies produced by his sponsor Billabong: Sabataj, Montaj and Fair Bits.

A true blue Australian, Taj's parents are Americans who moved to West Australia from San Diego. Taj started surfing at seven in a wave-lashed part of West Australia with almost non-stop surf, offering everything from beachbreaks to bommies. At nine he won a contest for surfers 18 and under. He won the Australian national Junior division at 16 and at 17 he won the insanely competitive Pro Junior. In 1997 he earned a slot on the World Championship Tour but he had the maturity to realize he was too immature to “do the tour full on” and he declined the slot, hoping to mature to become “a serious world title contender.”

Burrow went on the tour in 1998, he finished second on the tour in 1999, and has been up and down the ratings ever since. Despite finishing 35th in 2001, Burrow signed a seven-year contract with Billabong worth an estimated $650,000 a year, and his income has been supplemented by a Taj Burrow action figure, a book and decent earnings from events.

A country boy at heart, Burrow is very close to the surf-stoked parents who nurtured him. He bought a house across the street from theirs, “When I'm not on tour, hanging out with my parents is my favorite thing to do.”

During the 2006 season, the lightly-built Burrow was the wildcard in the rivalry between Andy Irons and Kelly Slater, sitting at second for the middle part of the tour. Australia has had only two Men's World Champions going back to 1990. It could be time for Taj to move from film idol to World Title.