Soli Bailey, a 21-year-old Byron Shire local, has won the prestigious Volcom Pipe Pro.
Bailey scored a remarkable underdog victory against Pipeline veterans to secure the highest-profile win of his professional career at the World Surf League Qualifying Series (QS) 3,000 event.
The competition featured some of the best surfers in the world including current World Champion John John Florence and Kelly Slater.
At one of the most famous venues on the planet Bailey came out on top, well ahead of his competitors Adriano de Sousa, Griffin Colapinto and Bruce Irons with a combined heat score of 13.26
‘This is definitely the biggest win of my career,’ Soli said.
‘There have been a few tough losses last year and what not, and I think I’ve just learned from them and to come here and stay cool, calm and collected right through the final then take it out. It’s a dream come true and one step closer to where I want to be. It’s pretty surreal right now.
‘All I know is something amazing just happened and there were some great waves ridden and I’m just super stoked right now,’ he said.
During the final the biggest set of the day came through and snapped both Bailey’s and Irons’ leashes and forced them back to shore to fix their equipment.
De Souza took advantage of the cleared out lineup and scored a 4.50 on a small left, but soon after Bailey dropped the first proper ride of the final, a 5.67 for a reeling right.
The best wave of the 35-minute final went to Soli for a double barrel combined with a solid frontside turn, scoring a 7.33 from the judging panel.
He backed this up with a 5.93 that put him points ahead of runner-up de Souza, who ended with a combined heat score of 8.43.
Bailey advanced in first from every round in the competition.
Much to the dismay of the local crowd, Florence went home early, sent packing in the first semifinal by Bailey and Colapinto.
The Volcom Pipe Pro has only seen four winners in its eight-year history: Jamie O’Brien, John John Florence, Kelly Slater and Soli Bailey.