Stab Magazine | Soli Bailey Wins The 2017 Volcom Pipe Pro
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Soli Bailey Wins The 2017 Volcom Pipe Pro

The first Australian to take home the spartan helmet trophy. 

news // Feb 10, 2017
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

A 21-year-old upstart from Oz isn’t supposed to win the Volcom Pipe Pro. In the past eight years, the bronze spartan helmet trophy has only been doled out to John John Florence, Kelly Slater, and Jamie O’Brien — three of Pipe’s most righteous aggressors. But after a wild and crazy waiting period that saw the Ehukai sandbar do its best Snapper-on-steroids impression, as well as a day of A-plus, eight-footers on the reef, Soli Bailey was somehow triumphant.

This is definitely the biggest win of my career,” said Soli. “There’s 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 is just… it’s a dream come true and one step closer to where I want to be.”

On finals day, the conditions weren’t what they were earlier in the week. But Soli didn’t let it phase him. In a relatively slow final, he seized on a heat-high 7.33 to put former world champ Adriano De Souza, Banzai artisan Bruce Irons and San Clemente darling Griffin Colapinto on the ropes. Hardly a fluke, as he dispatched reigning world champ John John in the semis as well.

It’s February, so yes, it’s way too early to talk about qualifying and “making a run at it,” but for Soli the win at Pipe is a validating accomplishment, a confidence booster, and an epic start to a critical year. The last time Soli won a WSL comp was the Rangiroa Pro Junior back in 2014. This gives him a shit ton of both momentum and options as he starts to sketch out his season.

Same goes for Griff. The 18-year-old spent the offseason trading two-footers at T Street with Kolohe Andino, but he appears to have picked up right where he left off after his breakout performance at last year’s Triple Crown. To finish third in the Pipe Pro, and beat Bruce. That’s the kind of experience that counts. Last year he won the Pipe Pro Junior, so maybe it’s a little expected that he’d have a good run, but certainly not this good.

Another that’s going to make some noise somewhere along the way is 18-year-old Seth Moniz. His professional success appears to be a foregone conclusion as he has the pedigree, the resources, and the skills to give Hawaii a lot to cheer about. And he certainly proved that on Day three of the Pipe Pro, when he took out Kelly. He would ultimately miss out on the final, but come away with the Todd Chesser Award, which seemed to knock him back a step.

“Ever since I was a little kid I’ve always heard about him,” said Seth. “I never got to meet him, but I heard he was a super nice and humble guy that just went out there and charged.”

For now, it’s time for Soli to party and pro surfing to give Pipe back to the locals for the rest of the year. Things are already starting to heat up in Oz and the WSL season’s only a month away, so there is no shortage of storylines to follow. And after the Pipe Pro, Soli and Griff have both handily inserted themselves into the narrative.

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