Top Kiwi surfer Paige Hareb is still buzzing following her teams Founders' Cup win at Kelly Slater’s man made wave pool.
“That weekend was a real highlight of my whole career. It was a dream come true and the whole thing still seems unbelievable!”
The Taranaki surfer represents New Zealand on the Women’s Championship Tour and says she was pinching herself after being selected as part of the World Team for the competition.
The Founders' Cup was the first ever event to be held in a wave pool and it didn’t disappoint, with Team World winning a thrilling final surf off against Team USA and Team Brazil.
Above: Hareb in action in the wave pool
Hareb surfed consistently on the perfect, barrelling waves and will be aiming to replicate that form when the World Tour returns to the wave pool in September.
“I got to the wave pool four days before the event and I surprised myself with how much I improved over just a few days practice.
“I’m looking to do very well at the next event there because I’ve gained a lot of confidence from the Founders' Cup.”
The pool generates a wave roughly every four minutes with the waves being a leg burning fifty second ride.
Above: Hareb in the wave pool
The man made waves allowed for an action packed event in guaranteed good conditions and Hareb would like to see a wave pool used when surfing makes its Olympic debut at Tokyo 2020.
“I think that’s the best way to go, it makes it more exciting for the surfers and for the fans, and it’s probably the best way to show the world the sport of surfing.
“The Founders' Cup was a great competition and it was a good insight into seeing how surfing could work at the Olympics.”
Above: Hareb and her Team World teammates
Hareb’s now back on the World Tour with the next stop at Keramas in Bali beginning on May 27th.
The goofy footer has also just been named to compete in the World Surfing Games for New Zealand in Japan in September.
“I think it’s the strongest Kiwi team since I first represented New Zealand there about 10 years ago. We have a pretty good chance to finish in the top 5 teams in the world which would be pretty amazing.”
As well as the World Tour competitions the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games is Hareb’s main goal in the near future.
“As a little kid I always dreamt of going to the Olympics, I played lots of different sports but didn’t think I’d get the opportunity to go to the Games for surfing so it’s hopefully going to be a dream come true.”
She hopes having surfing at the Olympic Games will inspire more young New Zealanders to take up the sport.
“It’s given us a great opportunity to showcase surfing and I’m seeing more and more kids in my hometown getting into it, both boys and girls which is cool.
“The sport’s growing and it’s only going to get bigger and better.”
Above: Highlights of the Founders' CupTokyo 2020 Olympic Summer Games