Defending champ Taj Burrow lights up the Breaka Burleigh Pro.
Defending champ Taj Burrow lights up the Breaka Burleigh Pro. LUCIA/ASP

Burrow in charge

DEFENDING champion Taj Burrow sent a warning shot through the field with a blistering performance during day three of the Breaka Burleigh Pro yesterday.

On a day when performance levels went through the roof, it was the West Australian who sent the crowd into a frenzy with a massive combined two-wave heat total of 17.17 (out of a possible 20).

With a full repertoire of modern surfing, Burrow nailed two eight-point-plus rides in clean one-metre swell to blast his opponents out of the water and cruise through to the round of 32.

Currumbin up-and-comer Mitch Crews (14.17) also advanced in second place, ahead of countryman Nathan Webster (11.54) and Japan’s Kaito Ohashi (10.27).

“I felt great out there,” Burrow said.

“The waves are high-performance and my surfboards feel right, as well as my overall fitness.

“I’d love to win this event again. It’s a great venue and the field is top quality and the waves are good – everything we want from a good surf event,” he said.

Tweed Heads surfer Josh Kerr, who qualified for this year’s ASP World Tour, was another to impress at the ASP 4-Star, $85,000 event, along with Burleigh hope Jay Thompson.

Perhaps the day’s biggest applause from the crowd at the natural amphitheatre on the headland was reserved for one of the local heroes of years gone by.

Thirty-one years on from when he won the Stubbies at Burleigh by defeating Dane Kealoha from Hawaii in the final, Peter Harris returned to competition as a wildcard.

Harris surfed alongside Kingscliff carver Mitch James and Victorian Jack Perry and although beaten by the new breed of excitement machines, proved there was still plenty of life in the old legs with his timeless smooth, flowing style.

“I had fun,” he said.

“I have enjoyed coming back to this great event.”



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