Rookie Or Not, Here She Comes: The Paige Hareb Interview

After witnessing Paige Hareb rip apart the season-opening Roxy Pro Gold Coast (the goofy-footed rookie took home a 3rd), we knew that we'd made an error by not including her in our recent article "The 10 Hottest Girls In Pro Surfing." The gorgeous New Zealand blond is mature beyond her 18 years, rips like no other, and is determined to make her mark in the world of surfing in this, her rookie season. To get to the bottom of her story, we sent girl crazy Dirty Jerz after her…

First Kiwi to qualify for the Women’s World Tour, Paige Hareb. Photo courtesy Billabong/Jason Childs

The always awkward introduction via e-mail (though less awkward than my tasteless pick-up lines):

Hey Paige. Ryan over here at TransWorld SURF. We'd like to do an interview with you for a web feature, so I was wondering what's easiest for you, email or phone? Hit me back when you've got a second. Thanks a bunch and congrats on making the tour this year and on the semifinals finish in your first event. Looking forward to seeing things unfold for you this year.

Hey Ryan,
I’m over in WA at the mo where reception isn’t always the best. Easiest just to send me through the questions.
Thanks heaps,

Ryan "Dirty Jerz" Brower: You took home a 3rd in your first event on Tour? How did that feel?
Paige Hareb: Yeah I didn’t expect to get a 3rd right off the bat. My aim was to make quarters, so making the semis was a huge bonus for me.

How were those rookie nerves holding up?
I felt that I held my nerves pretty well. I didn’t really think about being a rookie, and I’ve surfed against all those girls before. So for me it really was just another competition.

Paige on her fronthand. Photo courtesy Billabong/Jason Childs

I saw something that said you weren't intending on qualifying for 2009, but your goal was for 2010. How was the unintended qualification?
Pretty damn well! Yeah, last year I was just going to do it to get experience and get my ratings points up and try and qualify for 2010. To qualify so early was a real surprise and dream come true that snuck up on me real quick.

So where does that put your expectations and goals for this year?
Obviously high. I always aim for number one anyway and now it’s just made me that much more confident and hungry to do well this year. But still it’s only early days for me so I will just go with the flow.

You finished 7th on the 'QS last year and made the cut when Silvana Lima double-qualified with a 2nd at Sunset. Have you bought Silvana that drink yet?
[laughs] I can’t remember, I’ll make sure she gets her fair share on Tour with me this year.

Paige. Photo courtesy Billabong/Jason Childs

What aspect of the Tour are you looking most forward to?
I love seeing and experiencing new places, cultures, people and food. As well as surfing world famous waves and competing.

I think would be all that time on planes and in airports, having my suitcase as my home for 11 months of the year. It’s all worth it though.

The younger, new wave of ladies on Tour this year put up big results on the 'QS and in the Junior Pros last year and stamped their authority on the direction of women's surfing. What's your take on all this?
It’s just a good new generation coming through, you know it’s time for a bit of a change and shake up, but there’s always going to be another generation right behind us nipping at our heels.

What's your mindset in between events? Training, getting away on a trip with friends, or a little bit of both?
Yeah I’m over in WA [Western Australia] at the moment with a few mates getting waves every day just chilling out, not too much training when I’m getting waves everyday.

You're from a pretty small town. What's it like hitting the international surf scene and being catapulted into the world of professional surfing?
Yeah growing up in my small town has kept me mellow and modest. I like the whole international surfing scene, but I always like to get back home and surf with only five other people out on a crowded day.

In your hometown of Oakura you've got the ocean at your doorstep and the mountain in your backyard. What's it like having such a diverse offering growing up?
It’s the best place to grow up if you are in to a lot of sports. I love how I can go skiing or snowboarding all day then get an epic surf in the arvo on the same day. There’s not many places in the world where you can do that!

18-year-old Paige Hareb couldn’t be more excited about being a rookie on the World Tour. Photo courtesy Billabong/Jason Childs

So you're the first New Zealand female surfer to qualify for the World Tour (Maz Quinn being the first/first male). And right now you're the only Kiwi surfer on Tour. How's it feel representing your country on the biggest stage of surfing?
It feels pretty damn good. I am really proud to be the little Kiwi from the land down under. It’s a little over-whelming at times when I’m back in New Zealand, but I’m thankful that my parents and family keep me down to earth about it all.

Who or what do you see as your biggest challenges for this first year on Tour?
Steph [Gilmore] has a target on her back that I’d really like to get a bulls-eye on. Other than that I just want to stay consistent throughout the year and have fun! No challenges really, just an awesome way to see the world, I’m just going to try and take advantage of this dream tour!

To see more of Paige Hareb, check out the June issue of TransWorld SURF where Paige is featured in Who's Now/Who's Next along with fourteen other top up-and-comers whose time is now. Hits newsstands April 14th.