Australian surfing prodigy Soli Bailey has become just the second Indigenous person to qualify for the World Surf League (WSL) Men’s Championship Tour.
The 23-year-old Bundjalung man finished inside the top 13 on the WSL’s world Qualifying Series (QS) earning himself automatic qualification for the Dream Tour.
Bailey will compete full-time alongside the best surfers in the world as they tour the best waves in the world in 2019.
The first Australian Indigenous man to make it on to the World Tour was Dean Morrison, who surfed professionally from 2000 to 2010.
Bailey’s qualification comes after surfing the Pipeline Masters trials on Oahu’s North Shore.
According to the Guardian, former pro surfer Robbie Page was moved by Bailey’s qualification.
“He is our greatest, and he’s still building momentum. Indigenous king of the sea. Brought tears to my eyes,” Page reportedly said via Facebook.
Bailey believes the next five years will be huge for Indigenous surfing in Australia, and he’s already thinking about qualifying for the Olympics when surfing makes its debut in 2020.
The first event of the WSL Championship Tour is on the Gold Coast at Snapper Rocks in April.
Bailey grew up down the road in Byron Bay so it will be a relatively comfortable start to his new professional surfing life.
By Keiran Deck