2018 has been a hell of a year for Soli Bailey. His subtle, low-key demeanor is the exact opposite of his surfing which is well… explosive. After gaining momentum these past few years with some respectable finishes throughout, the 23 year-old Byron Bay native will finally make a run at the WCT, mixing it up with the big dogs. We were curious to see what made this year different and if his approach to comps has changed at all. Soli was nice enough to answer a few questions via email. Here’s what he had to say…


Soli, congrats again on qualifying for the 2019 WCT. What was different about going into this year's round of comps?

Thank you ! I guess what was different about heading into 2018 was that I had clear goals without too much expectation. I also wanted to have a shitload of fun.


Have you always been stoked on competing while growing up and stuff? What was the biggest thing that helped you progress as a surfer this year?

Competing is definitely a funny one, I’ve always been stoked on it but there is huge ups and downs. I think its been a number of things that have helped me progress but if I had to put it down to one thing it’s just letting go of everything and having a bit of fun.


How’s it been working with Tom Whitaker as a coach?

It’s such a good year having Tom on board. He has so much knowledge and is really calm and collected.


What was the scene like growing up in Byron Bay? How did that affect your surfing growing up?

It was a fair bit quieter when I was younger in Byron so I was lucky enough to not have to learn in crowds. Id surf before school and after school for hours. My high school also had surfing as a subject so that was perfect for me.


Do you have any hobbies or weird shit you like to do outside of surf? What’s your average Saturday at home look like?

I like fishing so go out when I can, and I’m getting right into golf these days. Saturday is a surf check, surf, big breaky, surf... if there’s no surf I’ll go fishing.


Do you have any goals for 2019? What is your mindset heading into next year?

My mindset heading into the new year is to try to enjoy it. I’d really love to make Rookie of the year.


Beer of choice?

Stone and Wood Pacific Ale