Billabong Team rider Paige Hareb made history this week as she earned a coveted qualifying position on the 2009 Women’s World Championship Tour. As the first female New Zealand surfer to make the tour, 18-year-old Paige was unsurprisingly ecstatic to have made the official qualification.
Coming from an unknown position, Paige climbed into 7th place overall in the World Qualifying Series, an unusual feat to accomplish. She nevertheless had to a await the final results of the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach to confirm which WCT girls had re-qualified and whether that meant a place for Paige on the tour.
“My goal was to qualify for 2010, so to qualify this year was a complete surprise!” said Paige after finding she had a berth on the circuit. “I would never have thought this would happen so soon.”
Topping off an outstanding year-long performance, she is now seeded into the final event of the 2008 season, the Billabong Pro Maui. With Julia De La Rosa out with injuries, Keala Kennelly was offered the replacement spot. That allowed Paige to move straight into the main event, giving her a chance to compete with girls she will face next year, but with no expectations or pressure.
“I’m really excited to compete in the Billabong Pro Maui event,” says Paige. “I have nothing to lose and it will be a great experience to surf against those girls.”