ON THE RISE: Currently rated number three, Zahli Kelly .
ON THE RISE: Currently rated number three, Zahli Kelly . World Surf League

Is she our next superstar?

IS ZAHLI Kelly the next Stephanie Gilmore?

The rising star from Cabarita Boardriders, who learnt how to surf on the Sunny Coast, is mature beyond her years.

At 15 and halfway through Year 10, the pocket rocket natural footer is currently rated No.3 on the World Surf League of the women's World Qualifying Series.

Zahli is on a massive mission to prove herself internationally by taking on the world and consolidating her early jump on the ratings. The top six of the women's WQS qualify for next year's World Tour.

Her first big test will be the QS3000 Open and Pro Junior in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.

She will then head home for snowboarding at Perisher, then it's back on to the US for the QS6000 Oceanside and the QS10,000 Open and Pro Junior at Huntington in July. These open QS events will be vital to keep her world qualifying hopes alive.

After that she'll be back home for five days before taking off to France in August for the QS1500 at Lacanau and QS1500 at Anglet.

Zahli won both of these last year and is keen to defend the titles. Both these event wins put her in a ranking position to be seeded into Huntington QS10,000.

Then it's one more big one in Spain for a QS10,000 before returning home in September just in time for her 16th birthday, which could see the biggest celebration in Cabarita if Zahli achieves the objective of qualifying for the World Tour.

She is the youngest of five kids. Older brother Liam taught her how to surf and brother Ethan is now her coach and travels to all the events.

While South Africa is a new destination, Zahli is well travelled, having been to Indo, Hawaii, Taiwan, New Zealand, Japan, California, Mexico, Florida, France and Spain.

Her Aussie surf trips include Tasmania, Victoria's Bells and Winkipop, Western Australia's Margaret River and Three Bears, and South Australia's Yorke Peninsular.

"Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch was the best trip,” she said.

"Surfing Kelly's wave pool for three days with only eight other surfers was a bit unbelievable but definitely amazing.”

Her favourite manoeuvres are reverse airs.

"I just want to be the best surfer I can possibly be and always push the limits with progression,” she said.

Zahli balances school and hectic travelling/competing by studying distance education.



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