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Westport Champions Chat – Paige Hareb

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Credit: NZ Surf journal

Winning her First Surfing New Zealand National Title in the Open Women’s division, we caught up with Paige Hareb to discuss what was different this year leading up to the Nats and where she’s heading for the upcoming season.. 

Have you ever won a New Zealand National Title before? 
Yeah, I think I’ve won the U16 and U18 girls divisions before and also when we used to have the Womens Nationals I have won maybe U14, U16, U18 and the Open women. 

Any comps this year that you hope to repeat your success in? 
The whole Australian World Qualifying Series. 

What are a few of your surfing goals for 2022? 
Qualify for the 2022 Challenger Series then qualify for the 2023 World Tour. 

How does it feel to be the National champion at the Westport Nationals in 2022, has it sunk in yet? 
It feels awesome, I put so much pressure on myself to get the win, so to finally do it but to have so many people down there from Taranaki just made it that much more special. 

Did you do any training coming up to the nationals, anything you did different from your normal routine? 
Haha not really, I basically went on a two-week inland hiking, biking and camping trip beforehand so I guess you could say I did cross training? So yeah, the buildup was a lot different to the usual training and trying to surf every day.  But we have a lot of local comps at home where I surf against the men through the winter, so they have been good practice. 

Going into the final did you feel pressure to win, were you nervous? 
Yes, I only felt pressure from myself but didn’t feel nervous, I never really do now, I guess I’ve been doing it for so long haha. 

What was going through your head as you paddled out for the final, did you have a plan? 
That I wanted to win and that I would try and come out strong and put the pressure on the other girls right from the start. 

When the final hooter went how did you feel, did you know that you had just won a national title?

Such a relief and of course happy! Yea I knew I had won but didn’t want to celebrate or anything until I was really sure, until the girls lifted me on their shoulders. 

Anyone you would like to thank? 
My sponsors for hanging in there with me for the last two years while I’ve done minimal competing. So thankful they have supported me so please if you’re reading this please try and support them back. A big thanks to Backdoor, Noel Jessop Architecture, Curve, New Balance, Matuse, DHD surfboards, Sol+Sea 

What did you think of Westport, will you be back?
Westport was such a nice area; the whole west coast of the South Island is pretty awesome! I definitely want to go back and explore some more breaks around there. 

Credit: NZ Surf Journal

What was your favourite thing about the Westport Nationals in 2022? 
That it was quite a different and new spot for all the competitors.

Lastly, Will you be back to defend your title in 2023?
Maybe! Everything is so unknown these days, I could still be stuck overseas without a MIQ spot from going away this year haha.

Thanks for chatting with us Paige and all the best for 2022 !!!! 


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