Stab Magazine | This Is The Best We've Seen Soli Bailey Surf

This Is The Best We’ve Seen Soli Bailey Surf

Plus it’s cut by Morgan Maassen, so you kinda have to watch.

cinema // Aug 14, 2020
Words by stab
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Soli Bailey finished 30th in his rookie year on Tour. 

Sounds bad, but it’s not really. Because the deck is fucking stacked against rookies. In order to get out from under the thumb of the top-5, you need to have a huge result in the first three events of the season. If you don’t, you end up drawing John, Gabby, Italo etc. in all of your round 3 heats, making defeat more or less imminent. 

Just for fun, let’s take a look at the surfers that ended Soli’s runs at each event last year: Filipe Toledo, Conner Coffin, Adrian Buchan, Italo Ferreira, Kolohe Andino (x2), Jordy Smith, Owen Wright, Gabriel Medina, Jack Freestone, John Florence.

Most, if not all, are acceptable losses on paper. 

Which is to say two things:

1. The level on Tour is extraordinarily high. 

2. Finishing 30th on a Tour of this caliber should be considered an achievement, not a diss. 

And if you had any lingering questions about Soli’s surfing being up to snuff, take a look at the video above, which was filmed in Indo/Aus/Hawaii/ZAF and produced by Morgan Maassen.

According to a witness, Soli was the best surfer on O’Neill’s team trip to Indo, which included none other than last year’s World #3, Jordy Smith. The last two waves (plus the massive lien earlier on) lend credence to those claims. 

MorganMaassen SoliBailey 2

Bonus! Morgan’s thoughts on Soli:

10 years ago, an Australian surf magazine editor handed me one of my first photography assignments and said “capture Soli”. We had only a few hours together, shooting portraits and action on a small day in Hawaii, but I was immediately struck by the incredible demeanor of the teenager. Polite, quiet, but so fiercely determined to make his mark, Soli was rising through the junior ranks and dreaming of make the World Tour. As time went on, we crossed paths countless times in random, far-flung places… but this last year i was bestowed both the pleasure of travel with him to Indonesia to score perfect waves, and to watch his inaugural year competing on the tour. The highs of his performances in incredible surf, and lows of watching him struggle with the complexities – and literal luck – that comes with being a professional surfer, was nothing short of amazing, and as I release this short film, I cannot express how proud I am of this human’s fruition into a young adult who surfs with incredible talent and carries the flag for Indigenous Australians with dignity.



Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Former CT Surfer Chris Davidson Passes Away At Age 45

A radical life tragically ends outside a bar in New South Wales.

Sep 25, 2022

Where You Should Be In Europe Right Now

An overview of the region's greatest hits.

Sep 25, 2022

The Team Ukraine Interview

“There are mines near the shore, and already a lot of people have died…so it’s…

Sep 24, 2022

Mormaii Founder Raided By Brazilian Feds On Suspicion Of Plotting Against Democracy

Curiously, he's the second surf brand founder to become entangled in a political scandal of…

Sep 24, 2022

The Electric Acid Surfboard Test With Mick Fanning, Episode 4

There are three boards left. Which one is Mick taking home?

Sep 23, 2022

Watch: Tresha

The Bella Kenworthy Edit.

Sep 22, 2022

Photos: Welcome To Vans Stab High Indonesia, Presented By Monster Energy

Welcome to Lakey Peak. Now do airs.

Sep 22, 2022


Taro Watanabe Is The Love Child Of Your Favorite 80’s Surfers

Watch his new edit 'Sonic Youth' now.

Sep 22, 2022

The Four-Finned, Carbon-Wrapped, Vacuum-Bagged Board That Won The 2022 World Title 

The minds behind Sharp Eye and Dark Arts break down Filipe's winning plank.

Sep 22, 2022

Selema Masekela Discusses The New Film “Sweet Adventure,” A New Love For El Salvador and His Not-So-New Music Career 

"It's literally the entirety of my life coming full circle in a way that I…

Sep 22, 2022

Does The 1-to-6 Foot Surfboard Exist?

Pushing the Channel Islands NeckBeard 3 to its absolute limits in a new Joyride review.

Sep 21, 2022


Life Comes At You Fast — So Does This Hectic Indo Clip

Finn McGill and a full-speed stint in Southeast Asia

Sep 21, 2022

Interview: Afghanistan Surf Champion Afridun Amu

From refugee to constitutional lawyer to university lecturer to Afghan surfing icon.

Sep 20, 2022


Bong Make ‘Another Good Call’ By Poaching Stab Cinematographer For West Oz Clip

Shut up, is that Occy doing punts?!

Sep 20, 2022

Exactly Where, When, And How Stephanie Gilmore Won Her 8 World Titles

Steph has won 341 heats in her 15 years on the CT — let's revisit…

Sep 20, 2022

Footage Of “The Best Wavepool In The World” Leaks From Brazil

A private pool in the heart of São Paulo, brought to you by Perfect Swell.

Sep 20, 2022

WSL Unveils 2023 CT Schedule

Swapping G-Land for Surf Ranch is … something.

Sep 19, 2022

10 Things I’ve Learned, With Michael February

Pearls of Wisdom from Surfing's Most Sage Millennial

Sep 19, 2022