Chances are good that an online search of the Four Seasons Maldives Surfing Championship Trophy mentions its reputation as the world’s most luxurious surf competition. Let’s not mince words: It is. Situated on a private coral island in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Surf glassy right-handers at Sultans by day. Sleep in ritzy thatched bungalows by night. Tropical atoll hard knocks.
But the other unique quality about the Maldives event is in its board format — surf single-fins on the first day, twinnies on the second, and thrusters on the third — and Burrow, who said he never rode a single fin before, took the win yesterday after a victory in the final over Rob Machado. Surprising? Tell Taj about it.
“That was bizarre, for sure. I’ve never ridden a single fin before, and I don’t picture my surfing as a single fin style,” said Taj. “But the board I had ended up being really fun. It’s a drivey, bigger board, like a 6’3″, and it felt good. You could really push hard and it would push back. It felt good through turns. I was having a ball. The waves are really suited for riding different boards in this event…Never expected to surf against Rob in a final while riding single fins. That’s something that you dream about, in a weird dream.”
Taj officially retired from Tour after the Fiji Pro in June, but his surfing at the Maldives looked sharp on a lone fin, as he mixed an array of tube rides and vertical forehand stabs to beat Machado by less than a point, 14.94 to 14.00. Burrow tore through the lineup all day; he scored a division high point-total against WSL Deputy Commissioner Travis Logie with an 18.44 after he coolly tucked into barrel after barrel.
“They were the best waves I’ve had in a heat in over ten years,” Logie said after the heat. “Taj was just getting tubes and I was doing a million turns…It’s always great when you both get opportunities. The conditions are perfect for a single fin. Just so good.”
Machado, whom many expected to run away with the single fin category, took down last year’s champion Shane Dorian on a self-shaped craft in the semifinal. A tied score after the horn sounded (a 15.34) went Machado’s way after he posted the highest individual score, leaving him and Burrow to square off in the final.
“That was so fun out there,” Machado said. “The conditions are so dreamy today. It’s been so sick to catch up with Shane and the rest of the crew, especially here in paradise. It doesn’t get any better.”
If you haven’t already, watch the freesurf highlights pre-contest below. The WSL isn’t streaming live coverage, so stay tuned for more updates as the twin fin division kicks off.