Taj's Small Fries
Surfing Western Australia
Yallingup, Western Australia
16 - 19 January 2015
Walsh, McCarthy, Kelly and others crowned champions
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 19 January, 2015 - Yallingup - The 10th anniversary of Taj’s Small Fries wrapped up in sensational fashion yesterday in Yallingup, Western Australia, with champions crowned across six divisions.
High performance summer conditions prevailed for the third and final day of competition, as surfers went all out in an effort to etch their name into the esteemed honor roll of previous event winners. The finalists reveled in the punchy 3 foot peaks on offer at Shallows, just north of event host & World Surf League (WSL) # 9 Taj Burrow’s home.
Burrow was on hand to spectate, commentate and demonstrate in front of a strong on beach crowd of adoring fans, who soaked up the festival style atmosphere of WA’s biggest and most prestigious junior surfing event. The blue ribbon boys 16 & under division was a locals only affair with Yallingup’s Kael Walsh edging out fast finishing trio of Josh Cattlin, Duke Nagtzaam and Jack Thomas.
Setting the tone early Walsh smashed a series of smooth backhand turns to lock in the highest score of the final, an 8.5 (from a possible 10). Despite the best efforts of Cattlin who challenged late, when Walsh linked together another impressive score of 7.8, the prestigious title was his.
Cattlin finished in second just 0.65 behind Walsh, with Duke Nagtzaam (Yallingup) in third ahead of Jack Thomas (Yallingup) fourth. "I’m so stoked right now this is a really big event for me, being 10 years and all," Walsh said.
Walsh was also awarded the outstanding performance award by Taj Burrow, where he will join winners from Parko's Grom Stomp (Caloundra, QLD), The Oz Grom Cup (Coffs Harbour, NSW) and Occy’s Grom Comp (Gold Coast, QLD), on a Surfing World trip, which will feature and profile each of the young surfer.
Mia McCarthy (Margaret River, WA) added the first Taj’s Small Fries winners trophy to her mantle, defeating Cassia Heagele (Exmouth, WA), Marnie Durant (Carnarvon, WA) and April McPherson (Mandurah, WA) in the 16 & under girls final.
All surfers exchanged the lead numerous times, before McCarthy made the title her own, locking in the highest score of the final, a last minute 6.65 (from a possible 10) to secure the win. "I came second last year, so I’ve been looking forward to this event all summer," McCarthy said. “I just want to thank Taj and everyone that makes this event so good I’m so happy.”
The final of the 14 & under boys division was a star-studded affair with Bali-based surfers, Kian Martin taking on east coast talents Lennox Chell (Avoca, NSW), Josh Grange (Burleigh Heads, QLD) and Caleb Tancred (Avoca, NSW).
With a pair of seven-point plus rides it was last years under 14 Australian Junior Champion Tancred who came out on top when the final hooter sounded. Tancred keep a 100% winning record in tact in Yallingup, defeating smooth goofy-footer Grange who finished second, head of rising star Chell in third, with Martin rounding out fourth place.
This was Tancred’s first time competing in Taj's Small Fries but has fallen in love with the West Australian coastline saying, “This place is so amazing, great waves, awesome weather and really nice people.”
Tancred was also selected by Burrow as the events future legend, earning himself a all expenses paid 10 night boat trip in Indonesia thanks to Mentawai Surf Charters. “I’ve never been there before and I really want to surf Macaroni’s,” said Tancred. “Thanks so much to Taj for selecting me and I cant wait to hang out with Kian and the other groms on the boat.”
Zahli Kelly (Wooloowin, QLD) proved she’ll be a force to be reckoned with in the future taking out both the 14 & under and 12 & under girls division. “I came here for the National Titles last year and I’ve been wanting to come back ever since,” said Kelly. “It’s been an awesome event and I’ll be coming back for sure.”
In the 12 & under boys final, 11 year old Lennox Chell (Avocca, NSW) announced himself as a future world title contender with an emphatic display of smooth and progressive surfing. Chell impressed everyone with his endless enthusiasm, cheeky smile and enormous talent.
He earned the event’s only perfect 10, for smashing one of the hundreds of quality lefts the young ripper caught over the course of the weekend. In the final, Chell scored a heat high 8.5 (from a possible 10) and took the win ahead of Logan Steinwede (Wagstaffe, NSW), Jed Gradisen (Maragaret River, WA) and Josh Grange (Burleigh Heads, QLD).
At the presentations, held at the iconic Caves House, Taj Burrow was on hand to giveaway prizes and trophies and was wrapped with the success of the event for the 10th straight years. “It's incredible to see the event has risen to be one of the most iconic and prestigious on offer in the country,” said Burrow. “I grew up surfing this amazing stretch of coast and it's so rewarding to see the groms come back year after year."
Burrow also took the opportunity to thank everyone involved, "To all the sponsors, all the parents and most importantly the 100 plus surf stoked groms who took part, this has been another epic event."
A win at Taj's Small Fries is regarded as a major step in a surfer's competitive career with the list of past winners including Western Australian surfers, Creed McTaggart, Jacob Willcox, Felicity Palmateer, and Jack Robinson, who are all now internationally renowned surfers in their own rights.
16 & Under Boys:
1. Kael Walsh (Yallingup, WA) – 16.30pts
2. Josh Cattlin (Yallingup, WA) – 15.65pts
3. Duke Nagtzaam (Yallingup, WA) – 13.00pts
4. Jack Thomas (Yallingup, WA) – 11.50pts
16 & Under Girls:
1. Mia McCarthy (Margaret River, WA) – 11.50pts
2. Cassia Haegele (Exmouth, WA) – 11.3pts
3. Marine Durant (Carnarvon, WA) – 10.60pts
4. April McPherson (Mandurah, WA) – 9.95pts
14 & Under Boys:
1. Caleb Tancred (Avocca, NSW) – 15.05pts
2. Josh Grange (Burleigh Heads, QLD) – 14.00pts
3. Lennox Chell (Avocca, NSW) – 11.15pts
4. Kian Martin (Bali, IND) – 9.20pts
14 & Under Girls:
1. Zahli Kelly (Wooloowin, QLD) – 13.75pts
2. April McPherson (Mandurah, WA) – 12.90pts
3. Emma Cattlin (Yallingup, WA) – 11.70pts
4. Jamaica Selby (Margaret River, WA) – 11.50pts
12 & Under Boys:
1. Lennox Chell (Avocca, NSW) – 12.95pts
2. Logan Steinwede (Wagstaffe, NSW) – 12.25pts
3. Jed Gradisen (Margaret River, WA) – 9.60pts
4. Josh Grange (Burleigh Heads, QLD) – 6.00pts
12 & Under Girls:
1. Zahli Kelly (Wooloowin, QLD) – 14.85pts
2. Coral Durant (Carnarvon, WA) – 9.40pts
3. Taiana Duncan (Kalbarri, WA) – 4.20pts
4. Summer Shepherd (Albany, WA) – 3.50pts