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Paige's Blog - Crunch Time

Monday, September 22, 2014 - Paige Hareb - Chasing the Dream

I’m not too sure how to start this as I’m feeling a little flat, ah maybe lets go back to the Swatch girls pro qualifying competition in France, where it was flat there too.

After finishing 9th in the previous contest at Oceanside (USA) by 0.03 (that margin of score isn’t even a wiggle, or wink of the eye to judges) I was feeling mixed emotions of disappointment and anger.  

Walking up the beach I was feeling good about my surfing, and then hearing the commentator announce over the beach that I had got through the heat, it made it even worse to find out a few minutes later that I had lost.

Friends and spectators were commenting on how they couldn’t figure out how I lost (does not help the anger either). It’s definitely one of those heats you look back on and think ‘what if'?

Back to France - I was still feeling good about my surfing, but you need waves to surf! The contest had half a foot waves slapping on the shore. There is actually a rule in the ASP rule book saying that they aren’t allowed to run a contest if it’s less than a foot but it was obvious (like at most contests) that the contest director is pressured by the sponsors (who come first over surfers). 

Sponsors are more worried about how nice the weather is and how many people are lying on the beach, seeing and wanting to buy their brand rather than the Women’s cut-throat careers on the line. I hate to say it but the contest didn’t come down to good quality surfing, Instead it came down to who weighed the least and could stand up to get a one-turn-wonder done.

With two frustrating contests in a row, I was keen and ready for some waves.
We got these in Pantin (Spain) which offered solid 6ft messy swell forcing a lot of paddling, duck-diving (even back-flips underwater). It was just all round hard work.

I went well in my first few heats, getting some higher scores, something I hadn’t had all year and thought this was going to be my contest.

Coming up against Pauline Ado in the quarters, I knew she was going to be tough to beat as she is a great competitor, but I felt confident. We had our 6-star contest with a Men's 4-star contest. so theoretically the women should get priority over waves.

After talking to the contest director for 15 minutes and telling him to wait for the tide because it was closing out and a bit slow, after he specifically asked me, he agreed with me and walked off to start the day with the Men, only to turn around and say Women out first! They say to speak up if you want something done but after several years on tour, I’ve come to realize that they are still going to do whatever they want to do.

After some great heats, I struggled to get good scores in the close outs - only needing a low score of four points. I couldn’t find it, exiting with a 5th place - not quite enough to re-qualify on the ASP World qualifying series. It was definitely a disappointing run in Europe for a few girls, including Pauline Ado, who is now in the same boat as me to re-qualify and although Dimity Stoyle is qualifying on the World Tour, she was still frustrated with Europe, taking it out on her board and fist.

With all the 6-star qualifying contests finished for the year, there’s a few of us Women almost relying solely on the rest of the World Tour events.

With a slight change of points for placings of 9th and 5th, it really has tightened it up making it super close between about eight women on the lower half of the tour.
It’s also made it tight for the World title race this year between the top five women so it’s going to be an exciting, cut-throat finish at the end of the year.

Writing this as Trestles is still running, all the Women were the most excited about this event, being new on tour and just one of those waves where it gives you the opportunity to do most manoeuvres with your surfing. I was ready for a result and confident I could get one here as it really does seem like a more even playing field with a perfect peak - giving you the choice or forehand or backhand and capable of holding a big crowd because there’s usually multiple waves and sets.

This qas not to be in my heat, coming up against Lakey Peterson of USA I knew it would be a tough battle. Falling on a few at the start and finally getting a seven point ride with 17 minutes to go, I only needed a 6.9. Can I just repeat, 17 minutes to go! That’s over half a heat left! No one thought there would be a complete lull for that long. I thought I was being good, sitting out the back being patient but nothing ever came to even give me the chance to get a 6.9. I’m not sure if I’ve killed a black cat or what but for me, there was no motion in the ocean!

Again, disappointment, anger, heartbreak and bad thoughts! So many close encounters or unlucky heats this year that I’m fired up for a result. Speaking of emotions, there was a bit of controversy in round two after Pauline Ado (FRA) beat Malia Manual (HI) who in her post heat interview, Malia said what she thought taking it out on the judges and Pauline saying something along the lines of ‘I thought that the judges were meant to be judging critical surfing, I surf on rail and Pauline surfs more flat - I’m just going to keep using my real surfing’.

With three World Tour events left, France, Portugal and Hawaii, I really need to change something and make those results happen if I want a chance of re-qualifying for next year. There is a possibility also through the back door on the qualifying series if I do a 5-star in Brazil, but we won’t go there right now as it’s too confusing with so many possibilities for people and points.
I’ll explain it next blog for you. Until then, I’ll leave you with this quote from the Hunger Games that’s relevant to so many of us surfers “May the odds be ever in your favour”.

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