Smith’s Reef has delivered one of the best and most memorable days in Taj’s Small Fries illustrious 18 year history, with clean and consistent 2-4 feet waves on offer for the second day of competition.
Semi finalists were decided at WA’s biggest, best and most prestigious junior surfing event, with tubes, turns and terrific surfing the order of the day as grommets thrived in the perfect summer-time conditions on offer.
A bump in the swell overnight saw the event move from Shallows to Smiths Beach, with groomed swell lines and clean all day offshore winds creating a postcard perfect day of surfing in the South-West of Western Australia.
Taj’s Small Fries last ran at Smith’s back in 2018 and the waves delivered in spades, with WA’s most successful male surfer Taj Burrow frothing harder than the competitors, with the young surfers from across Australasia going all out to impress Taj and the judges alike.
“It’s so cool to have a new venue for the event window, it’s been ages since we’ve been here at Smith’s and it’s such a great little comp set up,” said Burrow.. “It’s completely cooking out there with some perfect little peaks, there’s rippable lefts, little tubey rights and it’s so good to mix it up for the groms and keep them on their toes.”
The Under-16 Boys division set the tone early with excellent scores raining down as Okie Fraser (Margaret River, WA) posted a near perfect 9.00 (from a possible 10), in the opening round of the morning. Fraser backdoored a hollow right hander a continued after with a series of razor sharp turns to the shore.
“This is my fourth Small Fries event and I think today has to be my favourite of them all” said Fraser. “The boys are all ripping so hard today, I’m stoked to make it to finals day tomorrow.”
Remy North (Yallingup, WA) also posted a 9.00 (from a possible 10) for a deep tube ride, while Maverick Wilson (Dunsborough, WA), Kade Martin (Dunsborough, WA) and Jack Bulloch (Secret Harbour, WA) showed great form during the opening heats of the day.
Olive Hardy (Margaret River, WA) drew deep from her strong surfing pedigree to book her place in the Under-16 Cadet Girls semi finals. Hardy stuck to the wally lefts that allowed her to connect with multiple backhand turns to great effect.
“The waves are so good out there right now, it’s nice to come to a new spot and see the waves turn up as well,” said Hardy. “The girls are all ripping so hard today, I’m stoked to make it to finals day tomorrow.”
Eden Rodden (Geraldton, WA), Ocea Curtis (Lennox Head, NSW) and Mia Jacobs (Gracetown, WA) also impressed with strong performances in their Under-16 Girls quarter finals.
Macklin Flynn (Cowaramup, WA), Dane Henry (Kingscliff, NSW) Otis North (Yallingup, WA) and Finn Lange (Margaret River, WA) were the best of the Under-18 Boys.
“Today was just one of those epic days that Small Fries has become famous for producing,” said Surfing WA Events Manager. “There hasn’t been a drop of water out of place all day and I’ve been throughly impressed by the standard of surfing on offer across all divisions.”
The run of clean conditions is set to continue into finals day tomorrow, with a promising forecast set to see event champions crowned in epic conditions somewhere in Yallingup. Although the swell is forecast to ease conditions should remain clean for much of the day. Competition will kick off at 7:30am with the first finals hitting the water around 12:30pm.
Another exciting innovation for 2023, will see Taj’s Small Fries live streamed for the first time via www.streamer.com.au allowing people anywhere in the world to tune in and watch the action as it happens in Yallingup.
You can keep up to date with all the action by following Surfing WA’s social media platforms or by checking out www.surfingwa.com.au
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 – Ditch the distraction and remember #NoTxtNoWrecks.
About Taj’s Small Fries Yallingup:
Taj’s Small Fries, is WA’s biggest, best and most prestigious junior surfing event. Named after Yallingup resident and international surfing icon Taj Burrow. The event will celebrate 18 year in 2023 after first running back in 2006. Taj’s Small Fries attracts some of the best junior surfing talent from across Australasia to Yallingup in the South-West of Western Australia and is a key stepping stone on Surfing WA’s development pathway.
Jack Robinson (Margaret River, WA), Bronte Macaulay (Gracetown, WA), Jacob Willcox (Margaret River, WA), Soli Bailey (Byron Bay, NSW), Kael Walsh (Yallingup, WA), Ryan Callinan (Newcastle, NSW), Mia McCarthy (Margaret River, WA), Kai Hing (Sunshine Coast, QLD), Reef Heazlewood (Caloundra, QLD), Felicity Palmateer (Margaret River, WA) and Zahli Kelly (Tweed Coast, NSW), are just a few of the surfers to have captured Small Fries victories in the past as youngsters.