I AM SO STOKED!!
Aloha from Hawaii everybody. Wow, am I stoked!!
My ticket on the Dream Tour is now official.
Sorry this blog has been slow in being posted but things have just been a blur since the ASP (Association of Surfing Professionals) confirmed I had qualified for the 2009 tour.
There’s been heaps of media interest for which I am really grateful. Plus I’ve been overwhelmed with calls, texts and emails from people back in New Zealand.
It’s a pretty amazing feeling to know that your achievement can impact on people back home and make them proud.
Thanks so much to all the people who have already left posts of congratulations on my previous blog.
There was a little bit of relief mixed up with all the elation when I learned on Tuesday that I had made it.
People who follow pro surfing know the qualification system can be a bit complicated but basically it works like this….
The top six-ranked girls at the end of the WQS (World Qualifying Series) circuit qualify for the following year’s WCT (World Championship Tour..aka Dream Tour). They replace the bottom six-ranked girls on the WCT standings.
But you can “double qualify”. If you’re a Dream Tour surfer who has finished in the top 6 on the WQS as well, you’ve effectively got “insurance”. It means you can afford to finish 12th or lower on the Dream Tour and still re-qualify through your WQS points.
I finished 7th on the WQS standings which meant I was reliant on one of the four Dream Tour surfers who finished ahead of me also finishing in the top 11 on the WCT standings.
It was always a big chance of happening (I think it’s happened every year of the tour) but I had to wait for the WCT rankings to shake themselves down.
I’d hoped that would happen in the Layne Beachley Classic in Sydney in October but it didn’t quite work out. I was 99.99% of the way there….but not over the line!
I gotta admit that was hard to live with for several weeks there.
It coincided with me spending my longest stint of the year back in New Zealand between the Brazilian WQS events and the Hawaiian contests.
It was so cool to be home but frustrating when so many people were wanting to pat me on the back – or break out the champagne – but with me feeling I couldn’t quite let that happen because it wasn’t 100% official yet.
So when Silvana Lima (who was ranked ahead of me on the WQS standings) finished second to Steph Gilmore in the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach this week – with that result confirming Silvana would finish in the top 10 of the WCT this year and meaning I had qualified – it was like a dam of relief burst as well as joy!
Now it’s been a few days it’s starting to sink in and I am feeling really good.
I still can’t believe how well this year has gone for me.
Maybe it was the fact I got off to a flyer with the runner-up finish at the Billabong World Pro Junior at Narrabeen. That finals day gave me a taste of what I could achieve if I really applied myself….not just in my surfing or technique but also training and attitude.
I had a heap of heat that day but I had trained my butt off from well before Christmas and I knew I was ready to compete.
I’ve banked that lesson and my fitness training has gone to another level since.
This is how I want to make my living. I’ve wanted to be a professional surfer for a long time now.
But I knew from watching people like Layne Beachley (whom I consider my role model) and Bede Durbidge that there is no substitute for hard work. I train hard because I know that is making a difference. I can feel it.
Combined with working on my technique and mental preparation and heat management, I’ve grown confidence.
Going up to the Dream Tour will be a whole new challenge – but I want it.
I watched Steph Gilmore seal her second world title at Sunset this week.
The performance bar is being lifted in women’s surfing every year.
People say I’m young at 18 to be this advanced in my career. But there are people like 14-year-olds such as Tyler Wright from Australia and Carissa Moore and Coco Ho from Hawaii who are breathing down our necks!
My plan is to respond to the challenge by taking my surfing to a new level in 2009!
It’s weird reading the side-piece on my blog that talks about my goal of getting to the Dream Tour. When it first appeared on my first blog I was a bit nervous because there it was in black and white and out in the public staring back at me.
Now I’ve made it and it still kind of feels a bit surreal.
One thing I do know is that while competition surfing is a very individual sport, I’ve had huge team support in 2008.
My parents, my brother and sister, my wider family, my sponsors, my friends….they’ve been amazing, as have been all those people who have encouraged me along the way. Thanks so much guys!
Paige Hareb….Dream Tour-bound at last!!!