This is without a doubt a big year for Soli Bailey. The 23-year-old surfer from Australia qualified for the 2019 Championship Tour after solid finishes last year at Haleiwa and Sunset Beach. A QS grinder since 2011, it took him till 2017 to win his first QS event at the Volcom Pipe Pro.
With the 2019 Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast quickly approaching, Bailey will prepare to not only represent his country on the CT, but also his Indigenous Australian heritage of which he is extremely proud. He has decided to wear the Australian national flag on the left sleeve of his jersey and the Aboriginal flag on his right. "I'm stoked to have it on my jersey and for WSL to support me with that," he recently told SBS News in Australia. "My family represents from the Yaegl people and that consists of Maclean, right through to Coffs Harbour and that's part of Bundjalung Country."
This isn't the first time that Bailey's Indigenous heritage has played a role in his competitive surfing career. When speaking with the WSL earlier this year about his excitement for the upcoming CT, he remarked, "I've always dreamed of getting the start at Snapper. Bells is also a really special place for me - I won an Indigenous title there, with my Indigenous background, and I also had a few really good junior results out there." Bailey will be wearing the number 44 on his jersey, which also has a special significance, it's the birth year of his grandfather.
Frothing over his upcoming CT rookie year, he also sees the chance to make an impact on the world stage for others with Aboriginal Australian heritage. "I'd like to hope it's inspiring as many people as possible to get out there and enjoy the ocean for what it is," he told SBS. "We've hunted on the land and we've hunted in the ocean for longer than anyone knows."