Rachael Tilly isn’t even 18 yet, and she’s already got a world title under her belt. A few days ago, she won the World Surf League World Longboard Chamionship in China. Kelly Slater won his first when he was 20, as did Gabriel Medina. Carissa Moore hoisted her first World Title at the age of 18. And while Tilly may be on a longboard, but she’s still the youngest world champion ever.
“I am over the moon right now,” Tilly said. “Ever since I was six, it’s been a goal of mine to be the youngest World Champion and now I’ve done it. I can’t believe it’s even real. I have been to the contest twice before and not made many heats, but after winning the North American title I had more confidence this year and I guess it paid off.”
Tilly has been surfing since she was six-years-old, and it shows. For someone so young, Tilly is redefining what it means to be a stylish, strong longboarder. Last month, Tilly won the North American Title at Huntington Beach, and something inside her switched. For the last two years, Tilly has finished in last place, ruining her confidence and throwing her contest surfing for a loop. This year, however, she buckled down and made some changes.
According to the San Clemente Times, Tilly doubled down on her contest surfing time, competing in Western Surfing Association events and alongside her high school surfing team. It paid off in spades–during her final with Crystal Dzigas, her surfing was clearly on a different level. Big things are surely down the road for Tilly.