Regardless of Gabriel Medina’s win at the 2016 Fiji Pro, it was Taj Burrow and John John Florence’s heat in Round 3 that stole the show. In the 3rd round of the competition, fans saw the future of pro surfing facing off against pro surfing’s past. It was the sensei versus the grasshopper, which was later deemed the ‘heat of the year’.
Knowing it could be the last heat of his career, Taj looked as comfortable and as cheerful as he had on the water in years. John John and Taj battled through several lead changes, with John John eventually edging out Taj, winning 18.76 to 18.60.
The heat was an instant classic and an appropriate farewell after his 19 year pro surfing career. With seemingly everyone on Tavarua Island coming out to watch his final run, it was a storybook ending for Taj and a heat that no one will soon forget.