Western Australia’s biggest, best and most prestigious junior surfing tournament, Taj’s Small Fries presented by Board.Store kicked off for the 18th year in a row today in Yallingup, with an exciting day of competition highlighting the talent of some of Australasia’s best young surfing stars.
Light winds and an ease in the swell overnight saw competition held at the ever reliable Shallows, a patch of reef quite literally in event host Taj Burrow’s front yard. Shallows has been the most frequented location of Taj’s Small Fries over the years and it once again provided the perfect setting as boys and girls went all out to impress Taj Burrow, who was on hand to soak up the action.
First run in 2006, Taj’s Small Fries has grown each and every year and is the first marquee event of 2023, with 6500 points up for grabs for event champions on Surfing Australia’s National Junior Rankings.
The Under-18 Boys division kicked off proceedings this morning with Finn Lange (Margaret River, WA), Kade Martin (Dunsborough, WA), and Okie Fraser (Margaret River, WA), all winning their heats on the strength of some strong surfing.
While in the Under-18 Girls, Isi Campbell (Denmark, WA) and Willow Hardy (Margaret River, WA) stole the show with some powerful and committed surfing on display from two of WA’s top female hopes.
“I’m stoked that I get another cheeky year in the Small Fries with the addition of the Under-18 divisions,” said Hardy. “I’ve done this event for so long and I’ve got some very fond memories from all the years. Isi is one of my best friends and it’s good to see her surfing so well out there.”
Caden Francis (Gold Coast, QLD), and Phillip Duke (Bali, IND), both made a spectacular return to Taj’s Small Fries after a three year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic. The pair made up for lost time in Western Australia and stamped their authority on the opening heats of the Under-16-Boys.
“I was lucky enough to be over here in WA last November and I got to surf with Taj then which was epic,” said Frances. “The waves and the setups around WA are so good and I’m thrilled to be back competing here in from of Taj.”
The Under-14 and Under-12 divisions also provided plenty of memorable moments, with some exciting surfing on offer from Japanese brothers Masamune and Masaharu Uno, who strung together some polished surfing even as an afternoon sea breeze begun to ruffle to ocean surface.
Tomorrow is looking very promising for day two of competition with a forecast bump in the swell set to deliver for competitors across all divisions. Event officials will make an early call to where the event will run, with multiple world-class locations at their disposal. Competition will kick off at 7:30am sharp somewhere in Yallingup.
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.