The Inertia Contributing Editor
Staff
Soleil Errico, Harrison Roach Win Longboarding World Titles at Malibu

Soleil Errico, a world champ twice over. Photo: WSL


The Inertia

For many surfers, Soleil Errico’s childhood was the dream. She split her formative years between Kauai and Malibu, taking the best of both and incorporating them into her surfing. When she was 14, her family moved back to Malibu for good and Errico logged countless hours at First Point, homing in her style to become one of the top names in longboarding. Here, Errico shares what it was like winning her first world title at 17, what she loves about longboarding, and her goals looking forward.

When did you first start competing?

I did my first contest when I was 10. I didn’t really start doing it consistently until I was 12. I competed in longboarding and shortboarding at the time.

When did you decide to make longboarding your focus?

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Probably when we moved back to Malibu, so when I was 14. The first time I surfed First Point Malibu I really got to see the longboarding culture. First Point just screams longboard culture. And I just loved it so much, the whole vibe and the lifestyle. I felt like it resonated with me more in the way that I am as a person and the way that I like to surf.

Where do you like to surf in both Malibu and Kauai?

In Malibu, First Point is number one. In Kauai, Hanalei Bay — it can be a longboard wave but can be a gnarly wave when it’s bigger, but it’s still a really fun wave to longboard.

What was it like splitting your time between Kauai and Malibu growing up?

I think growing up in Kauai at the age that I grew up at really benefited me in terms of my comfort in the ocean. When you’re exposed to warm water and warm weather, you’re able to surf more and longer hours. In California where it’s cold, after a couple hours you’ve got to go in because you’re freezing. I probably wouldn’t have gotten into surfing if we didn’t move to Kauai. The warmth of the atmosphere and the water made me fall in love with surfing.

How would you describe your style?

Powerful but also soulful. I like to put soul into my surfing.  I like to include variety; I don’t like to do the same thing on every wave. I want people when they watch me surf to be intrigued and not get bored. And I like it to look elegant and effortless.

What was it like winning you first title at just 17?

I obviously thought about it a lot but didn’t think I’d win that year. It was a surprise, but it really proved to me my potential. I felt assured that surfing is what I wanted to do the rest of my life. After you’re successful at something at a young age, it makes you feel like, ‘Oh wow, this is my sh*t. I want to do this forever.’ I love the feeling of winning so much and it made me so inspired to do it again because I wanted to feel that again.

Fast forward to 2022. What was it like winning your second title at your home break?

It was super different because I knew I could do it. I had a higher expectation of myself to do it because I felt like I’d put in the work and I felt really confident in my surfing, especially on that wave. All summer, I was surfing Malibu to prepare and thinking about that event. Because it was in my hometown and my family and friends were there, I wanted them to experience it with me and to share the moment of winning. All of that combined was the driving force that kept me pushing through all those difficult training days. It was all worth it.

What was it like having the final at Malibu? 

I feel like Malibu is such a perfect wave, so it defines the best surfer because it’s so perfect and so consistent. The whole year I was working to just get better at my surfing so that I single handedly looked like the best because that was the only way I felt like I was going to win. I don’t have better wave knowledge than girls that have been competing longer than me. I felt like the tour this year was a good mixture of waves — Australia and Huntington were beachbreaks and then Malibu is a perfect point break. I thought that was really smart on the WSL’s end to have the final be at Malibu because it was double the amount of points.

What are your goals looking forward?

I want to win a couple more titles for sure. I’m still young and have a lot more in me. I want to keep getting better at surfing each year, continue to progress, and just be on a different level every year. I also want to graduate from college with a communications degree and then hopefully start a surf brand.

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