The first time I heard about surfing star, Paige Hareb, was when I read an article in the NZ Herald about the then 18 year old phenom. At the time, she had just qualified for the World Surfing League, Championship Tour. To put things into perspective, only 17 women in the world make it onto the "dream tour" each year, and Paige was the first Kiwi to do so. AMAZING!!
Being a surfing fan and an athlete myself, I was really curious about what life is like as a pro surfer. Is there pressure? Is beach hopping around the world as amazing as it looks? Is it challenging/weird competing in a bikini?! What are the other girls like on tour?
Just like you would imagine, Paige was super friendly, chilled out and down to earth to talk to.
Sach: Being a professional surfer and traveling week in and week out to beautiful locations sounds amazing to many people, but what are some of the challenges you have to overcome as a pro surfer?
Paige: The biggest one is probably being away from my friends and family for long periods of time. Traveling and being by myself a lot isn't always easy. There are the little things too, like adjusting to new time zones frequently as well. There is quite a bit of sexism in womens surfing which comes with its own set of challenges. It is getting better but when you're surfing in a bikini, sometimes you feel a bit of pressure to portray yourself in a certain way, especially when sponsors are looking for that type of image.
Sach: How do you handle that kind of pressure?
Paige: As I am getting older I am starting to feel more confident in myself. Before, I used to feel the pressure of trying to fulfil the expectations of others and of sponsors. But now I've started to do more of what I like and what I enjoy. And that feels good.
Sach: In an environment like you said, surfing in bikinis all day, how do you practice self confidence and not comparing yourself to others?
Paige: Yeah, I guess the girl surfers have quite a stereotype of the tanned skin and long hair, which I do have but each year the bikini bottoms seem to get smaller and smaller, which I don't really like. Growing up, especially when I was younger I did feel a bit of pressure to follow that trend and I didn't like that pressure, obviously. But I've learnt to love my body and love myself and not succumb to that pressure and just wear whatever bikini bottoms I want and feel good in.
Sach: That's awesome! And such a valuable lesson for all of us to learn. So, if you were to go back to your 17 year old self and give her a piece of advice, what would it be?
Paige: I think I would tell her to be more confident within herself and with her body. I would tell her to be less concerned about what others think of her and to follow what she really enjoys in life!
Thanks for having a chat with us, Paige, and for inspiring young women like myself and many others simply by being YOU!
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Credit for all photos in this article go to Paige's Instagram @paigehareb xx
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