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Heart-Stopping Kiwi One-Two in El Salvador

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A Kiwi one-two in El Salvador has seen Paige Hareb (Tara) and Saffi Vette (Gis) advance through to the last 32 surfers in the qualifying rounds of the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games being held this week.

It only took until the second round of the event for the two surfers to meet up in the same heat in a field of over 120 participants.  However, the two surfers went about their work in the 20 minute heat with Hareb leading from start to finish.

Vette found herself in a tussle against Camilla Kemp (GER) for second and progression alongside her teammate.  With 20 seconds to go, the Gisborne surfer caught the final wave of the heat to post a 3.83 point ride and jump up into second to advance alongside Hareb.  Vette finished her wave as the horn sounded the end of the heat.

“We talked about scenarios prior to the heat and what we would do to help each other in certain circumstances,” said Hareb.  “The waves were pretty big out there and bumpy and lumpy,” she added of the conditions.

Hareb won the heat with a 7.4 point heat total out of 20 with Vette close behind on 7.33.  That left the surfers from Germany and Switzerland relegated to the repechage rounds of the event.

The surf was solid for day two with a building 1.5m – 2.0m swell is expected to increase further over the next 48 hours.

The two surfers will be up again on day 3 of the event which will commence in the early hours of Wednesday morning (NZT).  Paige Hareb will be up at approximately 6:30am and Saffi Vette at 6:50am.

Hareb will face off against opponents from Chile, Japan and Argentina.  Vette will go up against surfers from Nicaragua, Argentina and Canada.

The two surfers are vying for Olympic qualification at the event.  A finish inside the top seven unqualified surfers at the event will secure qualification.  Their path to Tokyo was made easier today with four Olympic qualifiers pulling out of the event.  Carissa Moore (USA), Caroline Marks (USA), Brisa Hennessy (CRC) and Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRZ) were all ‘no-shows’ for their heats and are not expected to compete in the repechage rounds either.  This has opened the field for the Kiwis to go deep into the event.

Open Women’s Division
Qualifying Round 2
Heat 9
Paige Hareb, NZL, 7.4, 1, Saffi Vette, NZL, 7.33, 2, Camilla Kemp, GER, 6.56, 3, Alicia Martinet, SUI, 3.53, 4

Open Women’s Division
Qualifying Round 3
Heat 5

Paige Hareb, NZL, Lorena Fica, CHI, Mahina Maeda, JPN, Josefina Ane, ARG
Heat 6
Valentina Resano, NCA, Saffi Vette, NZL, Lucia Indurain, ARG, Bethany Zelasko, CAN

Surfing is being contested at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for the first time in July.  Twenty males and twenty females will compete at the event with country’s fielding a maximum of two athletes in each category.  The 2021 ISA World Surfing Games is the final opportunity for athletes to qualify with seven spots up for grabs in the Women’s Division and five in the Men’s Division.

In 2019 Ella Williams was joined by Billy Stairmand as the two Oceania qualifiers, Stairmand finishing eighth at the event to secure his provisional spot.  The highest placed male and female from Oceania secured Olympic spots provided they finished inside the top 30 at the event.

The 2021 ISA World Surfing Games is being streamed live.  El Salvador is 18 hours behind New Zealand.  Action will take place from approximately 2:00am (NZT) each morning of the event.

Olympic Qualification
The Olympic qualification process started with the World Surf League (WSL) where ten males and 8 females on the 2019 World Tour directly qualified for Tokyo 2020.  No more than two athletes per nation can qualify via this process.

The top ranked male and female surfers from four continents qualified via the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games.  The Americas had a stand-alone qualification event to determine their continental qualifiers.

View the full Olympic qualification system.

About International Surfing Association (ISA)
The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for surfing, bodyboarding, SUP and surfriding.  It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running world championships since 1964, and the Junior World Championships since 1980.

Further Information
For further information on the New Zealand Surfing Team please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

High resolution action images of team members will be available to media free of charge upon request.

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Follow Surfing New Zealand via all social media platforms – @surfingnz.

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