EXCERPT FROM MY RECENTLY PUBLISHED ARTICLE TITLED, SKATE, SURF AND JUMP: THREE YOUNG SOCAL ATHLETES WHO ARE MAKING THEIR MARK
Published in the Sept/Oct 2018 issue of Southern California Life Magazine – on newstands now, or subscribe here) Read text-only version below or read entire published article (with images) here on Cloud-up here:
Soleil Errico – The sylph-like surfer.
“You can watch her on the shore, standing by the ocean’s roar.” Every day, for three to five hours, seventeen-year-old Soleil Errico strides to the ocean’s edge to do what she’s done since she was seven years old: ride the waves on her longboard. There is, perhaps, no lovelier a sight than a tall, California blonde “walking” a longboard with trained technical precision, while seemingly weightless, moving in seamless symmetry with the waves. This isn’t your fast-moving, acrobatic shortboard surf experience—it’s poetry in motion. Others simply call it “the flow.”
To date, Soleil holds over twelve surfing titles, including USA Surfing 2017 Women’s Longboard National Champion. Her home surf break is First Point Malibu, where she lives part of the year with her parents and two younger sisters who, she laments, “aren’t really into surfing.” The rest of the year, she surfs in Kauai where the Erricos have their secondary residence, aka a sweet slice of paradise.
Soleil practices what is known as progressive longboarding, a style that differs from the more popular shortboarding—the latter being a speedier, “hit the lip” kind of experience vs. the mellow, balletic movements of the longboarder. (Think Gene Kelly vs. Fred Astaire.) Word on the waves is that there is can be a palatable tension between shortboarders and longboarders, with the former group known to get verbally territorial if a longboarder starts to surf on “their” turf. (Kind of like a hip hopper yelling at a ballet dancer.) Why the hostility? “They think we’re kooks,” says Soleil.
Currently, Soleil is part of the 2018 Relik ™ Modern + Classic Longboard World Tour. Part surfing movement and part competitive sporting event, Relik’s sole aim is to celebrate the art and lifestyle of longboard surfing by gathering its top performers at the world’s best surf breaks—ultimately building community around the sub culture and lifestyle of longboard surfing.
It’s a culture that the Malibu teenager is happy to embrace on her way to winning the world title in longboard surfing. That’s her aim, anyway. You can watch Soleil and her fellow Relik World Tour competitors surf during their next competition from September 8-18 at the Lower Trestles surfing spot in San Clemente. It’s a dance you won’t want to miss.