Paige Hareb Connects The Highs and Lows of Womans Championship Tour Comeback October 12 2018

(Courtesy Jean Marc Armoyal)

This year has had its highs and lows for Paige Hareb, who gained a berth back on the World Surf League Women's Championship Tour after a three year hiatus. Paige's performance at the esteemed Founder's Cup at Surf Ranch helped Team World win the gold. She earned a second place finish at the ISA World Surfing Games last month in Japan and rallied back from a free-surfing accident in Mexico that forced the hard charger from Oakura, New Zealand to pull out of the sixth stop on Tour at Jeffrey's Bay. 

(Courtesy, Jean Marc Armoyal) 

She recently took some time while at the Roxy Pro in France to relay some details from this year's events and what the future may hold. 

When was the last time you were at Hossegor competing? What do you enjoy doing in France during the lay days?

Paige:  I think it was the last time I was on tour, so that would be 2014. I love France and really like the Hossegor area. The shopping in San Sebastian, biking, the food and all the French beaches. I also love the food and shopping in Biarritz.

Pura Vida Board Gear:  You recently made the podium with your third place finish at the Pull and Bear Pantin Classic Galicia Pro. How is that an important event for you?

Paige: I have been going to the Pantin Classic for many years now and it always seems to treat me well including getting good results. We usually get all sorts of conditions within the one contest which can be like New Zealand, so I feel at home. After breaking my ribs this year and missing an important 6000 in Mexico, Pantin really did become an even more important event for me to try and get some points for my overall ranking.

I’m very happy with the 3rd place I got there and hopefully it will help me to  re-qualify for the 2019 WSL Womens World Tour.

(Courtesy, ISA, Ben Reed)

(Courtesy, ISA)

How did your free surf accident in Mexico make you stronger, mentally? Did being back home play a big part in helping you heal and get back in competitive mode so quickly?

Paige: That was such a freak accident and definitely a scary one when it happened. I was very lucky that I didn’t quite puncture my lung and managed to get flown home to a high performance rehab center in NZ, which I visited a couple times a week. 

They helped me recover so quickly that even they were surprised! I'm very thankful that I was able to get back to NZ for such good support. At one stage I thought I was going to be out for the rest of the year, so I’m super happy and grateful. Of course, there were a lot of hard days physically and mentally and that made me stronger, going through it all.

Paige contributed toTeam World's exciting win at the Founders Cup (Courtesy, WSL) 


What do you love about Kelly Slater’s wave at Surf Ranch? Would you ever consider training on artificial waves?

Paige: I absolutely love it. I’ve been lucky enough to get there a few times now and one day I pretty much had the whole ranch to myself, I kept having to pinch myself.

I would love to train more on artificial waves. They should never replace the ocean but I think a balance of both is really cool.

How did winning the Founders Cup in May with Team World (with Jordy Smith, Bianca Buitendag, Kanoa Igarashi,  Michel Bourez) give you new stoke?

Paige: It’s not very often we get to do surf competitions as a team so just that in itself was nice and refreshing. I felt a little more pressure because I didn’t want to let the World Team down but it was also a lot of fun in that environment. It definitely gave me a new kind of stoke on my surfing and ability.

Why is it beneficial for surfers to compete in team events?

Paige: I think the biggest thing is camaraderie among the team members, full team support and a lot of laughs!


How did it feel to make the women’s final, individually and also representing your home country New Zealand at the ISA World Surfing Games?

Paige: Similar to the Founders Cup, I was competing for my team and of course my country too and just wanted to try and win for them and make them proud. I didn’t want to let the NZ team down haha. Again I really enjoyed the team environment and had a lot of fun.

What do you like about the left at Long Beach in Tahara? Is there something special you enjoy about the culture there?

Paige: I think I ended up surfing more right handers there but as a goofy footer I won’t say no to a left haha. I have been to Japan three or four times now in two years. I really love it! The place is super clean and the people are the nicest people in the World. I also love sushi.

Shout out to Support and Sponsors?

Paige: All my fans are great and I want to thank them so much! My parents are probably my biggest fans. They are great but at the same time I’m now 28 so it is also nice to not do all the events with them…in the nicest way possible, haha.

Shout out Mt Woodgee Surfboards, Curve, Gull NZ, Sunbreaker, Hyperride, Noel Jessop Architecture, Matuse, New Balance, FCS

The WSL has described your surfing as having more speed, power and flow than when you were last on Tour.

Paige: That’s nice to hear but unfortunately my results on tour haven’t been reflecting that so I still feel like I have to go back to the drawing board, try and find what will work and work even harder for next years tour.

(Courtesy, Jean Marc Armoyal)

Thoughts on Olympics 2020?

Paige: That’s one of my biggest goals right now. It has been a dream of mine to go to the Olympics ever since I was a little girl, so it would be amazing to represent New Zealand in Surfing at them. I also hope it’s in a wave pool, haha but I think it will be at a beach.


Next stop on the WCT will be in Hawaii at the Beachwaver Maui Pro from November 25th through December 6th. This will be the last event for the ladies for 2018. 

Paige first joined the World Surf League Women's Championship Tour in 2009, the first woman from New Zealand to qualify.  

Follow Paige on instagram @paigehareb

All Photos Courtesy of Paige Hareb through ISA, WSL and Jean Marc Armoyal

Author: Kate Hanley

Pura Vida Board Gear is based in Jaco, Costa Rica since 2013. We specialize in custom boardsocks and limited edition lifestyle gear. Follow us on instagram @puravidaboardgear.