Geraldton’s Cruz MacDonald and other locals make waves at the Taj Small Fries competition in Yallingup

Headshot of Fraser Williams
Fraser WilliamsGeraldton Guardian
Cruz MacDonald finished third in the under-14 boys in the Taj Small Fries competition.
Camera IconCruz MacDonald finished third in the under-14 boys in the Taj Small Fries competition. Credit: Sam Gray Media/Surfing WA

Young Geraldton surf star Cruz MacDonald fell short of the finals in the Taj Small Fries surfing competition by just half a point while other locals also performed well at Yallingup.

The 19th Taj Small Fries event held in Yallingup saw 178 surfers from all over Australia and some from overseas competing in the first marquee tournament of 2024 across four days.

It is one of WA’s biggest and most prestigious junior surfing events each year, named after legend Taj Burrow, and it helps provide a stepping stone for aspiring young surfers.

Geraldton had seven locals travel south to tackle the Yallingup waves over January 18-21.

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MacDonald was the top performer out of the group, starting out finishing top of his heat in the opening rounds in the boys under-14 division with a combined score of 9.93.

He pulled up a second-place finish in the second group heat to move onto the quarterfinals, with a combined score of 7.81.

The quarterfinals narrowed the original 29 surfers to eight, split across two heats.

MacDonald came out of his heat with the best finish, getting scores of 4.80 and 5.18 for a total of 9.98 and sending him to the semifinals.

His dominant streak came to an end however, as his combined score of 11.68 was not enough. He fell short to the eventual champion from Bali, Jasper Glossop, by just 0.33 points, and finished third in the competition.

In the under-16 boys division two locals competed, with Leon Plummer totalling 3.00 and 1.17 in the opening round for a score of 4.17, and Kerby Morris with scores of 4.25 and 2.22 for a total of 6.47.

After coming close to a finals berth in last year’s competition, Edel Rodden’s run this year was cut short during the first round, with her score of 6.40 not being enough to advance in the under-18s division.

Saskia Newman also competed in the division, pulling off a score of 4.80 in the first round.

In the under-14 girls division Geraldton’s Kalani Catto topped her heat in the first round with her final two scores of 4.00 and 3.28 being enough to send her into the second round, but missed a spot in the semifinals.

Frances Simmons totalled a score of 2.20 in the opening round of the under-14 girls division.

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