Paige Hareb is the first woman from New Zealand to qualify for the Championship Tour. She hails from Oukura, a tiny town of less than 1500 people on the chilly west coast of the North Island. The wave-rich coast where she cut her teeth as a surfer bends beautifully around the base of Mount Taranaki, a volcanic peak covered in a canopy of rain forest, and is home to some of the most unheralded high-quality breaks in the world. Hareb’s dad is a diehard surfer, and after her early indoctrination to fun waves and empty lineups and it didn’t take long for her to become a standout of her Oukura Boardriders Club. When it came time to compete in junior and Qualifying Series events over in Australia the powerful rail-centric approach she developed back home served her well. She joined the Championship Tour in 2009, and opened her campaign with a strong third place finish at Snapper that year. She finished inside of the Top 10 three times over the next four years while backing herself up on the Qualifying Series. She made the semifinals again when the Tour stopped in her backyard in 2012 for the TSB Bank NZ Surf Festival. But after six years on Tour she missed the cut in 2014, and was relegated back to surfing’s minor leagues, where she spent the last three years battling to get back to the elite ranks. In 2017 her hard work paid off, as she secured the last slot open through the QS window, edging out World Junior Champion Macy Callaghan. At 27, she’s wiser and much more battle hardened. She’s evolved her approach in the crucial categories of speed, power and flow, and now she’s earned another chance to prove it.