Taj’s Small Fries presented by Board.Store has wrapped up in emphatic fashion yesterday in Yallingup, with eight champions adding their names to the event’s illustrious honour roll, by claiming victory at WA’s biggest, best and most prestigious junior surfing tournament.
After three days of pumping surf, amazing summer conditions and a record field of entrants, the 16th instalment of Taj’s Small Fries will surely be remembered as one of the best yet.
A diminishing swell forced Small Fries to go mobile on finals day in search of the best of the surf along the Yallingup coast. Mother Nature saved her best for last and after two days of great surf at Shallows, it was Honeycombs, a small and secluded bay that handles only the smallest of swells that provided the perfect setting for the finalists to strut their stuff.
Despite the logistics of moving the event, former World Tour competitor Taj Burrow was absolutely stoked to wrap up the event in such a memorable way.
“Its been ages since we’ve come to this particular spot and its absolutely going off right now,” said Burrow. “This is such a fickle little beach that doesn’t handle too much swell, but this is so perfect for the groms.”
Geraldton’s Jake Hagan claimed the biggest win of his young career, taking down Maverick Wilson (Dunsborough), one of the inform surfers of the event in the blue ribbon 16 & Under Boys final.
Hagan’s fast and snappy style fitted in perfectly to the running right handers on offer, posting a combined total of 15.75 (from a possible 20), with some great and fluid manoeuvres. Despite some great surfing of his own, Wilson was left chasing an 8.71 (from a possible 10) to snatch victory.
“Thanks to all my friends and family here supporting me,” said Hagan. “This has been the best event, the waves have been sick, thanks to Taj and everyone for being here.”
The 16 & Under Girls division finished with a bang, as Zali Hewson (Margaret River) and Isi Campbell (Denmark) went head-to-head in an enthralling battle.
Hewson picked off the best two waves of the final and blew them to pieces with her great array of backhand turns, locking in a heat high 8.75 (from a possible 10) and backed it up with a 7.10 to finish on 15.85 (from a possible 20).
Campbell posted a competitive 13.65 two-wave total, but was left chasing an excellent score for victory.
“This is one of my favourite events and to win in my final year makes it even more special,” said Hewson. “I’m stoked to put my name on the Small Fries honour roll with all the other great surfers who have won over the years. Thanks to Taj and all the people here to supporting me.”
The 14 & Under Boys final was an all-star shootout, with four of the best surfers of the event all featured.
Maverick Wilson (Dunsborough) was spurred on by his result in the 16 Boys and used great wave selection and a powerful backhand attack to finish on a combined total of 14.70 (from a possible 20). Wilson was pushed all the way by Okie Fraser (Margaret River, WA), Sid Englert (Gracetown), and Kade Martin (Dunsborough), with less than one point separating second and third.
“I’m so stoked right now,” said Wilson. “The waves have been firing all event and to surf every one of my heats in clean conditions was great. I knew it would be tough but I’m happy to have made two finals.”
Isi Campbell (Denmark) proved why she’s the current National Champion, with victory in the 14 & Under Girls final. Displaying a solid array of forehand manoeuvres, Campbell was too strong for Ruby Berry (Augusta), Kaleisha Launders (Margaret River) and Olive Hardy (Margaret River), posting a combined total of 14.40 (from a possible 20).
“I love Taj’s Small Fries and this has to be one of the best ones ever,” said Campbell. “To make two finals and win one is something I’m proud of and thanks to my parents for everything they do.”
The 12 & Under Boys final saw Kade Martin (Dunsborough) stamp his authority on a division brimming with future West Australian surfing talent. Using a smooth and sharp rail game, Martin sliced and diced his way to a popular win.
Martin scored a 6.95 and 6.50 to finish on a combined total of 13.45 (from a possible 20). Max Ghiretti (Margaret River), Cruz Uros (Dunsborough) and Cam Spencer (Dunsborough WA) tried their best but couldn’t stomp the inform Martin.
“Thanks to Taj and the boys in the final,” said Martin. “I love surfing and this event has been the best.”
Grace Cook (Cowaramup) proved she’s a star on the rise, claiming victory in the hotly contested 12 & Under Girls final. Spearheading a crop of emerging female talent, Cook was able to extract the most from the waves, taking down Olive Hardy (Margaret River), Mia Jacobs (Mandurah) and Indie Siedmiogrodzki (City Beach).
“I can’t believe it, it’s like a dream come true,” said Cook. “All the girls have been ripping so I’m really happy to have surfed my best. Thanks to Mia McCarthy and all the other girls for supporting me.”
The 10 & Under Boys division unearthed plenty of exciting new talent, with Taylor Flynn (Cowaramup) continuing the family legacy at Taj’s Small Fries with a hard-fought win. Flynn was challenged all the way Cruz Macdonald (Geraldton), Zenn Hammond (Yallingup) and Jack Harris (Swanbourne), who finished second, third and fourth respectively.
Sienna Jones (Doubleview) put in the performance of the day, with a near perfect performance at Honeycombs in the 10 & Under Girls Final. Jones was unstoppable, posting a perfect 10 and a back up 9.00 to finish on a near perfect 19.00 (from a possible 20). Charging set and showing great commitment along the way, Jones finished ahead of Lulu Wilson (Dunsborough), Luca Jacobs (Mandurah) and Summer Potter (Mandurah).
“I’ve just had the best time this has been so fun and I can’t thank Taj enough,” said Jones. “It was so fun everyday and to get great waves like this at a comp is special.”
Caves House hosted the event presentations with a plenty of supporters on hand to see the winners announced and specialty prizes awarded. Kade Martin (Dunsborough), Sienna Jones (Doubleview) and Grace Cook (Cowaramup) all pick up brand new custom Mayhem Surfboards for their outstanding efforts throughout the event.
Jack Mickle (Trigg) was announced away as the winner of the West Surfing Media Profile Pack which will see him join Taj on a photo and video shoot with world class photographer Russell Ord, resident West Team Photographer/multimedia Mark Cooper and renowned global surf filmer Tom Jennings.
Cruz Macdonald (Geraldton) was awarded the Catch Surf Rising Star Award, Okie Fraser (Margaret River) won the Catch Surf Spin To Win and Olive Hardy (Margaret River) won the Nixon Right on Time award.
Final Results Taj’s Small Fries 2021:
10 & Under Boys:
1. Taylor Flynn (Cowaramup) – 14.25
2. Cruz Macdonald (Geraldton) – 14.00
3. Zenn Hammond (Yallingup) – 8.05
4. Jack Harris (Swanbourne) – 7.05
10 & Under Girls:
1. Sienna Jones (Doubleview) – 19.00
2. Lulu Wilson (Dunsborough) – 10.85
3. Luca Jacobs (Mandurah) – 9.35
4. Summer Potter (Mandurah) – 9.25
12 & Under Boys:
1. Kade Martin (Dunsborough) – 13.45
2. Max Ghiretti (Margaret River) – 11.30
3. Cruz Uros (Dunsborough) – 10.40
4. Cam Spencer (Dunsborough) – 6.35
12 & Under Girls:
1. Grace Cook (Cowaramup) – 12.75
2. Olive Hardy (Margaret River) – 12.25
3. Mia Jacobs (Mandurah) – 9.35
4. Indie Siedmiogrodzki (City Beach) – 7.70
14 & Under Boys:
1. Maverick Wilson (Dunsborough) – 14.70
2. Okie Fraser (Margaret River) – 14.00
3. Sid Englert (Margaret River) – 13.80
4. Kade Martin (Dunsborough) – 6.25
14 & Under Girls:
1. Isi Campbell (Denmark) – 14.40
2. Ruby Berry (Augusta) – 12.90
3. Kaleisha Launders (Margaret River) – 12.05
4. Olive Hardy (Margaret River) – 8.50
16 & Under Boys:
1. Jake Hagan (Geraldton) – 15.75)
2. Maverick Wilson (Dunsborough) – 13.05
16 & Under Girls:
1. Zali Hewson (Margaret River) – 15.85
2. Isi Campbell (Denmark) – 13.65
Surfing WA acknowledges and pays respect to Wadandi Elder Sandra Hill and Undalup Association for their assistance and consolation on the Taj’s Small Fries event artwork.
Surfing WA reminds all our traveling competitors and families of the dangers of sending a text message or using a mobile phone while behind the wheel – Remember #NoTxtNoWrecks.
Taj’s Small Fries Honour Roll (16 & Under Boys & Girls Champions Only)
Jake Hagan (WA)
Zali Hewson (WA)
Macklin Flynn (WA)
Willow Hardy (WA)
Jed Gradisen (WA)
Coral Durant (WA)
Finn Cox (WA)
Emma Cattlin (WA)
Finn Cox (WA)
Emma Cattlin (WA)
Josh Cattlin (WA)
April McPherson (WA)
Kael Walsh (WA)
Mia McCarthy (WA)
Reef Heazlewood (QLD)
Emi Campbell (WA)
Kai Hing (QLD)
Billie Melinz (NSW)
Jack Robinson (WA)
Eliza Greene (WA)
Jack Robinson (WA)
Zoe Clarke (VIC)
Jack Robinson (WA)
Mikaela Greene (WA)
Soli Bailey (NSW)
India Payne (VIC)
Regan Fredricks (NSW)
Laura Macaulay (WA)
Dean Bowen (NSW)
Felicity Palmateer (WA)
Shaun Howe (WA)
Felicity Palmateer (WA)
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 16th consecutive year in 2021 after first running in 2006. Taj’s Small Fries continually attracts some of the best junior surfing talent from across Australia to Yallingup in the South-West of Western Australia.