Fiji, June 2013. Photo: Joli
One of the best surfers never to win a world title. At his peak there was no surfer with more flair, style, or as complete an arsenal as Taj. It was a progressive style that many considered unsustainable but even today, at 35 years old, he remains one of the world’s most consistent proponents of new-school surfing. The results of which you can see in his killer part in the high profile surf film, Dear Suburbia. There is really no weakness in his surfing other than he’s consistently come up against some of history’s other greatest surfers in competition, Kelly Slater, Andy Irons and Mick Fanning among them. The son of two surf crazed American ex-pats, (he and his parents still often undertake family vacations to North West Australia’s famous desert reef breaks), Taj grew up in the diverse and incredibly wave-rich Margaret’s region. With waves like North Point, Gas Chambers, Injidup and Rabbit Hill nearby, Taj is equally as strong in throating barrels as he is with turns and punts. one of the first surfers to consistently land the full rotation air reverse, he has always been as much about putting together killer video parts as winning heats. His first two profile films, Sabotaj and Montaj are among the best depictions of all- round progressive hi-fi surfing an Australian has ever produced. Famously, he graduated to the World Tour as a 17-year-old only to knock back his position, citing that he wanted to be a contender on tour not just make up the numbers. And a contender he was, coming second in the title race the following year to Occy. Unfortunately, he has remained nothing more than a contender since and is running out of years to put it together.