In the final Burrow downed another Aussie, Matt Wilkinson, in solid six-foot waves at the iconic point break of Steamer Lane to secure his second victory of the season.
“This win feels incredible,” Burrow said. “It happens sometimes where you never feel like you have the best heats. I was kind of in the zone. I never really had a good heat the whole event, but I still felt good.
"It’s such a tricky wave and I guess the only thing that helped was my wave count. That final was the battle of the back-ups. We both stacked it on a couple and we were in a fluster. Wilko (Wilkinson) fell on that last one and he would have got the score, but I’ll take it.”
Burrow, who won the opening event of the season on the Gold Coast in his native country, now sits in sixth place on the ASP World Tour ladder.
“I really wanted to win another event this year, especially since I’m out of the race for the title,” Burrow said.
“That’s pretty depressing, but I’m really happy that it just fell in to place here in Santa Cruz. To get two wins in a year, I’ve only done that once before so I’m really happy with that.”
Parkinson reached the quarter-finals where he was ousted by Travis Logie, who ended up finishing third - his best placing of the season.
But Parkinson's result was enough for him to retain the overall lead of the championship heading into the final event of the year - the Billabong Pipeline Masters.
Only Kelly Slater, who closed the gap despite a ninth-place finish at Santa Cruz, and Mick Fanning, who was bumped out early, can catch him now.
“I haven’t looked at the numbers, but it’s funny enough, I gained a couple thousand points,” Slater said. “Joel (Parkinson) dropped a 9th and gained a 5th and I dropped a 500 and gained about 3,000 points. It’s a huge opportunity lost for Joel.”
1 – Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.10
2 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 12.70
SF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 14.57 def. Travis Logie (ZAF) 12.40
SF 2: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 17.73 def. Michel Bourez (PYF) 12.10
QF 1: Taj Burrow (AUS) 13.83 def. Gabriel Medina (BRA) 8.60
QF 2: Travis Logie (ZAF) 13.83 def. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 13.00
QF 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 16.27 def. Jeremy Flores (FRA) 12.50
QF 4: Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.07 def. Adriano De Souza (BRA) 11.83
Round five results:
Heat 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 13.16 def. Alejo Muniz (BRA) 6.70
Heat 2: Travis Logie (ZAF) 10.50 def. Raoni Monteiro (BRA) 8.90
Heat 3: Michel Bourez (PYF) 15.00 def. Damien Hobgood (USA) 8.00
Heat 4: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 10.50 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 9.40
ASP World Championship Tour standings:
1. Joel Parkinson (AUS) 53,900 pts
2. Kelly Slater (USA) 50,700 pts
3. Mick Fanning (AUS) 47,000 pts
4. John John Florence (HAW) 44,350 pts
5. Adriano de Souza (BRA) 42,350 pts