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Kiwi surfer Paige Hareb will have the opportunity to surf on home waves when the World Surf League returns to New Zealand with the Corona Piha Pro this month. Hareb caught up with Daniel Richardson ahead of the event.

Interview: Paige Hareb

Taranaki hosted a World Surf League Championship Tour event from 2010 to 2013 and a Qualifying Series event in 2014 and 2015. What does it mean to have the World Surf League return to New Zealand for the first time in five years?

It’s exciting. It’s going to be huge. The key is just to try and not get overwhelmed by it all. We did previously have a big event down in Taranaki, so it’s nice there’s a big one back in New Zealand. I know all the girls and guys love coming to New Zealand, so hopefully we give them good waves and weather, and everyone’s happy.

Do you think you or fellow Kiwi Ricardo Christie will have any home water advantage at the Piha Pro?

Not really. I haven’t had a competition at Piha for years and I don’t regularly surf here. So I guess maybe because it’s the West Coast, it can get wild swells, similar to my home in Taranaki. So if the swells are big, maybe I’ll have an advantage, but otherwise it’s pretty much anyone’s on the day.

“We surf in the same waves and at the same places as the guys, so I don’t see why not”

Given Piha isn’t a regular spot for you, have you tried to get in some extra practice there recently?

I’ve tried to get out there a couple of times in advance to suss it out.

Your home of Oakura Beach in Taranaki will always stand out for you, but do you have any other spots in New Zealand where you love to surf?

Home’s pretty good, we’ve got a lot of point breaks. I guess one famous one I like is Stent Road in Taranaki. There are a few other fun lefthanders as well, like Rocky Point, also in Taranaki. I’ve also been over to Matakana Island in Mt Maunganui a couple of times on the East Coast, so it has been a pretty good summer.

Female athletes have continued to take centre stage in the world of sport in recent times. What female athletes do you admire as role models?

I like watching the tennis, that’s been pretty good, especially Serena Williams, she’s amazing. In surfing, when I was younger, Layne Beachley was always a favourite, and now even though I compete against them, Stephanie Gilmore and Carissa Moore are probably my favourites.

Were there any other athletes you looked up to growing up?

In surfing, it was Layne Beachley and Kelly Slater, he’s always been a favourite.

There’s been a noted increase in the coverage of women’s sport in New Zealand recently. What does it mean for you to see that?

In the last couple of years, it’s definitely got better. The equality thing has moved forward a lot for women, which is good to see. There’s still room for it to get bigger and better, but it’s definitely come a long way in the last couple of years.

“The key is just to try and not get overwhelmed by it all”

The Piha Pro has equal prize money for men and women. That seems a positive, progressive step for surfing.

Women’s surfing in particular has come a long way; we’re all pretty happy about it. We deserve it. We surf in the same waves and at the same places as the guys, so I don’t see why not.

Do you think an event like the Piha Pro provides you with an opportunity to help inspire the next generation of young New Zealand surfers?

A few years ago when we had a Championship Tour event in Taranaki, I noticed there were a whole lot more girls getting into surfing, which was cool to see. I have no doubt this one’s going to make an impact on the next generation as well.

Skywatch,  March 2020

Note: This event has currently been postponed, we will update you with the new schedule when available