Kiwi in Flight: Paige Hareb's Impressive Run at Costa Rica's WQS Open Pro October 11 2016
New Zealander Paige Hareb is no novice to professional surfing. If you hadn't seen her surf before, it was evident this past week at the World Qualifying Series Essential Open Pro in Playa Esterillos Este. Twenty six year old Paige, a natural goofy footed surfer with an impressive backside snap finished fifth overall at the WQS 3000 event. She soared through the early rounds with seemingly effortless high scoring waves to land a spot in the quarter finals. As fate would have it, Paige was matched against former ASP competitor and rival spanning several years, Silvana Lima in an exciting heat. Although the 6 plus wave Paige needed with minutes remaining alluded her, Paige's overall performance was eye-catching. As the two surfers rode waves in at the buzzer, the low key, classy kiwi put out her hand to congratulate Silvana, who eventually went on to win the final against Pauline Ado of France. Paige stayed to watch the semi's and the finals from under the competitor's tent.
Paige is a kiwi through and through, from Oakura, New Zealand, a little town by the sea with "lots of good surf." Originally encouraged by her father, Paige began surfing at six year's old but also participated in other sports like soccer, basketball and skiing when she was older. Eventually her love of surf surpassed the rest and after capturing a spot on the World Surf Tour at 18 in 2008, there was no turning back. Paige said YES to the opportunity to travel all over the world, surf internationally acclaimed breaks while competing against the world's best surfers.
After six years on the tour, Paige is vying for a comeback spot for 2017 and has worked her way into a good position to accomplish that.
Paige in Playa Esterillos Este after securing a spot in the women's quarter finals.
It's Sunday night, the event is over. After a run on the beach with her Mom riding beside her on a cruiser, Paige hit the surf for a sunset session. It has been a full day. Now Paige and her Mom, Fiona, are relaxing over dinner at the Hotel Pelican in Esterillos Este. We have a chance to chat in an atmosphere charged with good vibes and energy from some of the other surfers, WSL judges and guests. I am impressed by Paige's laid back personality and disposition and ask her about it. Her Mom and her share a smile. "I think she has always been kind of like that." Paige says she prefers to stay low key.
Used to accompanying Paige on her tour events since the beginning, her parents are an integral part of her support team. "She was so young," her Mom explains, " when she first started; she couldn't rent a car." When both parents can't go, at least one will be present. It's obvious there is a good bond there. Fiona and Paige share a dessert.
PVBG: What do you miss about New Zealand when you’re on the road?
Paige: Friends and family for sure. And the breaks; there is never more than ten people. (Her Mom thinks she is going to say the coffee, but Paige says that the coffee is actually pretty good in San Clemente, CA.)
Paige has had a base in San Clemente during the last four or five months while being on the road so much. "It’s a good base." She stays with friends and has a coach there. They keep in touch during contests.
PVBG: Something you love about Costa Rica? Favorite food?
Paige: I like the people and the pura vida vibe. Mahi mahi casado.
PVBG: Have you been here before?
Paige: Actually several years ago (2012) I was invited to do a surf video called 3 Killas y un Kiwi; it was a lot of fun, filmed in Playa Negra with Sofia Mulanovich and some other girls. ( Ornella Pellizzari, Simone Zea)
Photo credit: Volt Surfwear (2012)
PVBG: What do you like to do on lay days?
Paige: Ride bikes on the beach with my Mom... it depends where I am really and who I'm with. I like to travel with the other girls. At the Pantin Classic in September (Paige finished third overall) I went to Norway to go surfing with another girl, and also to London. I like to explore. Also, I started studying online to be a personal fitness trainer so I spend time on that as well.
Enjoying a visit to Cuba recently with her parents, Paige shares some stoke with this potential grom.
PVBG: Favorite contest moment for you on Tour?
Paige: Definitely Margart River Pro 2008. (Paige won the women's final that year)
PVBG: What do you think about this break, Este?
Paige: It's a bit of a tricky break. It was nice; we had waves the whole time.
PVBG: A surfer that inspires you and why?
Paige: Steph Gillmore and Carissa, Steph because she's so well rounded and balanced;Carissa, her surfing is amazing and she's the nicest person ever.
Paige flashes a winning smile.
Next stop on the WQS tour will be the White Buffalo Women's Pro in Kamogawa, Chiba, Japan.
**The kiwi is the national bird of New Zealand and also the name that is used internationally for people from there. It is a flightless bird. Paige is a kiwi continually mastering her flight skills, enjoying the ride along the way.
Thanks for your time and good vibes, Paige! Wishing you the best.
Follow her on Instagram @paigehareb
Article by Kate Hanley @puravidaboardgear
Surfing photos provided by Paige Hareb, Photo credit to @rickyrkphoto taken at Lowers, Trestles, San Clemente, CA