We caught up with professional surfer Paige Hareb, to explore her ideas around training, what persistence means for her and the importance of finding your own personal “weakness” in order to move to your next stage in surfing.
Hey Paige, tell us a little bit of history about your surfing career…
I grew up playing and doing a lot of different sports and surfing to me wasn’t my ‘serious’ sport. I always thought I would end up being a pro soccer player or ski racer. Surfing was the sport where I just did it as a relaxing, fun, side thing to take my mind off the other sports, but I started winning competitions and got my first free sponsor sticker when I was 14 so it was then that I thought hang on, I could actually make a career out of this sport! I did all the grom comps and did well and guess stepped my way up the steps pretty quick to Pro juniors then to the qualifying series which I won an event the first year I did, and ended up qualifying without really trying. By that I mean I just didn’t expect to qualify my first year, I was just doing it for experience so I was pretty surprised and happy when I qualified for the Womens World Tour at the age of 18. I was then on the World tour for six consecutive years with my best result being a third place at Snapper in my first year. Six years is a long time, there was a couple of fun years, a couple of years I was over it and couple of years that were frustrating. I got knocked off and tried to re-qualify last year but just missed out needing one more result but it didn’t help that my surfboards didn’t even turn up for one whole event. Now I’m trying to re-quaify again this year.
Competing at an international level you need to be in top physical form – how important is your training to you ?
Every year the girls and competition is getting harder and harder and more professional so I kicked myself up the bum and have been training harder than ever but not really because the girls are getting better, more because I didn’t want to finish my career without completely trying, that would of been a regret. Training is important yet even though I have relied mainly on natural talent I guess that can only get you so far. As I get older too I need to maintain my body to prevent injuries.
Apart from surfing, what other forms of training do you do ? How do you feel this helps your surfing ?
I have been working with a guy from San Clemente, California who has helped me heaps with my training. Lots of strength and balance stuff. You should see his gym though it doesn’t look like a normal gym with weights and machines, we do a lot of stuff just with our own body weight. I lost 6kg at the start of this year and noticed the difference just on my surfboards, I felt faster and more agile. From doing the training I feel stronger and more confident.
What are your top tips for someone wanting to perform at their best when surfing ?
I guess everyone can be slightly different and lacking something in different areas so it’s about knowing yourself and being honest with yourself and then woking on your weakness. For me I think my weakness is my mental game so I have been working hard on my mindset over summer but your brain is a muscle too so it takes awhile to get toned like any other muscle. It’s a process.
What is the best way in your opinion, to improve your surfing ?
Like anything, nothing beats doing exactly what you want to get good at. Lots of surfing will help you improve with your surfing. I like my Mum filming me so I can come in and critique myself then go back out and try again. Everyday is coaching and constructive criticism on myself. Don’t get me wrong you still need the full package of training on land, eating healthy, sleeping well etc but at the end of the day surfing is the best.
Persistence is the key to success, do you agree with this statement ?
Yes! Definitely! I mean sometimes it’s good to have a little break so you don’t get over it or tire yourself and body out but you definitely have to keep going. Even looking at some of my competitors, there’s a few where I didn’t think they were that good but watching them over the last few years and seeing them keep at it, some of them have improved a lot and even though they are my competitors it’s good to see, it’s good for the sport, it’s even good for me because it pushes me and makes me hungrier and realize with persistence I can improve too.
Who are your sponsors that support your lifestyle and goals ?
MtWoodgee surfboards are the longest sponsor I’ve been with, this year will be 10years! I also have Subaru, Matuse wetsuits and I’ve recently teamed up with New Balance who have been great especially since I’ve really been getting into my running lately.
It is hard finding the funding to get from event to event though and I’m always on the lookout for sponsors and help, so if anyone is interested … email@example.com
Thank you for your time and advice Paige, good luck out there, we will be hootin for ya!
Featured image : Joel Coleman – Insert image : Will Hayden Smith