Target Maui Pro

Rookie Tatiana Weston-Webb: "I Wanted to Prove Myself"

Andrew Nichols

Weston-Webb, Pitted in France
Tatiana Weston-Webb was this season's only rookie on the women's Championship Tour. But that didn't stop her from turning heads with performances like this one. This tube in October earned her a cool 10 points -- a perfect score.

Each year the World Surf League (WSL) welcomes new surfers to its top tier, the Samsung Galaxy Championship Tour (CT). In 2015, however, there was just one new face on the roster: Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW). Despite being the lone rookie, Weston-Webb has already earned a reputation as a giant-slayer. Heading into the Target Maui Pro, the elite women's final event of the season, she discussed her approach to the event, her take on her first year and more.

What was Weston-Webb like before the season started? Read her Faces of 2015 interview.

On Being the Sole Rookie:

I wanted to prove myself and finish Top 10 for my sake. You need to earn that title.

"Going into this year as a rookie I knew there was no one else [who was new who] I would be competing because no one else had qualified. But I still wanted to prove myself and finish Top 10 for my sake and not anyone else. You need to earn that title. I've done pretty well for a rookie and feel like I've adapted as well as possible. I've learned so much already and can only get better from here so I'm excited."

On Goals:

Weston-Webb vs. Wright
Don't let her youth fool you: In France this past October, Weston-Webb achieved one of her top goals for the year.

"My goal at the start of the year was to make a Final and if I were to make one to win it. When I got into the Final at France I really wanted to win but I knew it was going to take an extra amount of effort to do so with Tyler Wright (AUS) winning the event previously. Looking back and having achieved my goal it was amazing and now going into the last event of the year I want to win."

On Facing Titans on Tour:

"Going against girls like Stephanie [Gilmore] (AUS) and Carissa [Moore] who I've looked up to my whole life -- it's hard to get a grasp of reality and know you're doing your job. That was my wake up call. That this is my job and you have to beat them. I think that was a really cool point in this year when I realized to take it a little more seriously and that it's doable."

Before facing Wright in the France Final, Weston-Webb took down current World No. 2 Carissa Moore (HAW) and World No. 3 Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS) in back-to-back heats.

On Her Heavy-Wave Skills:

Weston-Webb at Cloudbreak
The rookie has proved her mettle in solid conditions. In Fiji, not only did she make the Quarterfinals in competition, but she won the GoPro Challenge with videos like this one.

"My main goal in surfing is just to have fun and appreciate it. The bigger or the scarier it gets, the more adrenaline and rush you get -- the more fun it is. I don't even think about the dangers, 'I'm not going to make my heat,' this and that. I just go and have fun. If something happens you have the best crew on hand to help you and I think that hesitation is more dangerous than just going for it."

On Her Approach to Honolua Bay, Maui:

Tatiana Weston-Webb (HAW), tearing it up in her Quarterfinal heat in Hossegor. Weston-Webb's strong backhand will be a huge factor on the righthand pointbreak of Honolua Bay. WSL/ Poullenot - WSL / Poullenot/Aquashot

"It's pretty interesting because people always ask how Honolua is as a wave and I've actually never surfed it. I've seen tons of pictures, video, and heat analyzers from years previous and studied it as much as possible -- but what can you really do if you can't really surf and there's no swell? I'm really anxious to get in the water and see how the water feels. I've been told it's a mix of two breaks I surf a bunch at home so I feel a little more confident. I know my backhand is good and I'm in a strong state of mind so I'm excited."

On Staying Focused...Even on Lay Days:

"For me the biggest thing about lay days is constantly reminding myself that I'm here for an event. You have to stay professional and to know what your goal is. Sometimes I have these lay days where I want to go have fun, but at the end of every night I remind myself that I'm here for this competition and I have to stay focused."

Catch Weston-Webb and the rest of the Top 17 live daily in the Target Maui Pro starting at 7:30 local time on the WSL website and App through December 4.