One of the most promising new talents in the global surfing community, 20-year-old Soleil Errico matches her phenomenal riding ability with extraordinary dedication and drive. After spending most of her childhood honing her skills on the shores of Malibu and Kauai, the champion longboarder made history in 2018 by becoming one of the two youngest athletes ever to win the World Surf League (WSL) World Title. With her latest triumphs including partnering with Kelly Slater’s Firewire Surfboards to create her own line of signature boards, Errico brings an exquisite balance of power, precision, and sophisticated grace to every aspect of her surfing.
Born in New York City, Errico moved to Malibu as a little girl but mostly grew up in Kauai, where her father taught her to surf at the age of eight. “I fell in love with surfing right away,” she recalls. “I remember the water being so crystal-clear and feeling so connected to the ocean—it all felt very natural to me, and I realized that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.” By age 11 she’d won her first surfing contest, and soon began competing all over Hawaii in both the longboarding and shortboarding divisions. But upon moving back to Malibu at the age of 13, Errico decided to fully focus on longboarding, a style well-suited to her vast and elegant repertoire of movement. “Surfing in Malibu made me love longboarding even more than I already did,” she says. “The wave there is very longboard-oriented, and it’s a culture where longboarding is very much respected and supported. I also just love the versatility of longboarding, how you can nose-ride and turn and trim and bring a lot of style to it—it really fits with who I am as a person.”
As she continued working tirelessly to build her technique and refine her style, Errico claimed victory in a host of competitions (including the 2016 USA Surfing Women’s Longboard Championship) and started training with three-time WSL World Longboard Champion Taylor Jensen. In a life-changing turn of events, she next emerged as the surprise winner of the 2018 WSL Women’s World Longboard Championship in Taiwan. “I was only 17 at the time and I wasn’t expecting to win so soon,” says Errico. “I went as a wild card, just happy to be competing at the highest level, and it ended up showing me that I’m much more capable than I thought I was.”
With her most recent wins including the 2019 Relik Longboard World Tour, Errico joined forces with Firewire in 2020 and quickly set to work on designing her signature boards in collaboration with famed surfer CJ Nelson. “CJ’s been coaching me for the past year, and he’s really helped me find my style and become the surfer I am now,” says Errico, who names Nelson as her number-one inspiration. Not only the first female surfer signed to Firewire, Errico has proved instrumental in fulfilling the brand’s mission of expanding into the longboard market. Made with state-of-the-art Thunderbolt Technology to enhance performance and improve board control, the Soleil Series launched in late 2021 with two gorgeously designed models: the Velvet Hour (a lavender/blush-hued board meant for riding in all conditions) and the Sunkist (a bright-yellow model whose performance-focused design allows for nimble maneuvering through more sizable waves).
Now heading into her freshman year at the University of San Diego, Errico plans to create her own line of surfwear and surf-lifestyle products, in addition to introducing new models in the Soleil Series. In the meantime, she’s also moving forward in her work with charitable organizations like THERAsurf and A Walk On Water (both of which provide surf therapy to people with special needs). And as she continues to grow and develop as a surfer, Errico remains devoted to one of her deepest passions: inspiring other women and girls to get out in the waves. “I don’t encourage all girls to be competitive surfers, because it’s incredibly tough, but I do encourage them to go out and surf just for the pure love of it,” she says. “It’s such an amazing thing to be out in Mother Nature and to feel the unpredictability of the ocean, and I’d love it if every girl could experience that.”