Byron Bay’s Soli Bailey looked in exciting form at the Oi Rio Pro in Brazil, surfing with aggression and flair, but ultimately had to settle for an equal 17th place.
Stop five on the World Surf League tour started in clean 1-metre waves and Bailey took on Gabriel Medina and Adrian Buchan and succeeded in progressing into the round of 32 with some nice power surfing and also completed an aerial on his last wave.
In his next heat he was up against world number two Kolohe Andino, and also had to contend with solid 2–3-metre-plus waves pounding the sandbank, with backwash adding an extra hazard.
Organisers utilised the overlapping format with 40-minute heats and jetski assistance.
Bailey’s strategy was to attack every wave as hard as he could and while Andino beat him in the end, it was clear that he has embraced the underdog role and is looking way more dangerous to the top seeds than he was in the first half of the year.