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Hareb Another Step Closer to Qualification for Tokyo 2020

Paige Hareb has taken another big step toward qualification for Tokyo 2020 advancing through to the top eight surfers in the qualifying rounds of the ISA World Surfing Games held in El Salvador early this morning (Friday 4th June).

The thirty-year-old Taranaki surfer can secure her qualification with one more heat progression in the qualifying rounds which would see her reach the magical mark of being within the top seven unqualified surfers at the event.

However, it is going to be long 36 hours before she gets back into the water again as Hareb will not feature in action on day six of the event which takes place in the early hours of Saturday morning (NZT).

To advance through the next round, Hareb will need to beat at least two of her opponents – Daniella Rosa (PER), Leilani McGonagle (CRC) and Lucia Indurain (ARG).

In another solid day of swell of up to 2.0m, Hareb posted an 8.43 point heat total out of a possible 20 to advance in second place alongside Peru’s Yolanda Sequeira (POR).  Hareb has been surfing on a bigger board over the past few days to compensate for the powerful waves and massive amounts of water moving through the line-up.

“It’s super tricky out there with a lot of water moving and the peak shifting. I just wanted to get two quick ones, so I was happy to have two waves within the first 10 minutes. I had to sit on the Canadian girl at the end and she actually ended up getting an interference on me,” said Hareb.

While a win in the heat may have been more fruitful, Hareb believes that on paper, her next match up, if anything, is easier.

Olympic qualification has been a main driver for Hareb heading to El Salvador but the complex scenarios unfolding at the event have meant Hareb has had little idea of what is required results wise to get to Tokyo.

“The last few days I’ve had so many people ask me what I need to do to qualify and I’ve actually had no idea at all until just before. Ignorance has been bliss so far and now I’ll just try to forget about it again and keep going,” said Hareb.

Hareb’s teammate Saffi Vette (Gis) was bundled out of the event after two heats today.  The 19-year-old advanced out of her first heat relishing a move to the righthand point break of El Sunzal for the second arena.  In the second heat, Vette couldn’t find the right waves, falling behind from the start and ultimately she couldn’t make up the deficit in the late stages of the heat finishing fourth and ending her campaign in 29th overall.

“I am stoked with the way I have been surfing and how I have adapted to the conditions over here.  I am glad I came and gave qualification a shot, no regrets,” said the teenager who will now switch to support crew for Hareb.

Vettes’ elimination today secures Ella Williams (WGM) continental qualification that came back in 2019 as the highest placed surfer from Oceania at the ISA World Surfing Games.  Williams opted out of attending the event in El Salvador due to health and safety reasons but has had to sweat it out on the results of Hareb and Vette this week.

Please see below for Kiwi results from day five of the ISA World Surfing Games held in El Salvador today (Friday 4th June 2021).

Women’s Division Qualifying Round 4
Yolanda Sequeira, POR, 9.67, 1, Paige Hareb, NZL, 8.43, Taina Angel Izquierdo, INA, 5.8, 3, Bethany Zelasko, CAN, 3.37, 4

Women’s Division Repechage Round 4
Vahiné Fierro, FRA, 12.84, 1, Saffi Vette, NZL, 10.34, 2, Camilla Kemp, GER, 9.04, 3, Josefina Ane, ARG, 2.9, 4

Women’s Division Repechage Round 5
Carolina Mendes, POR, 9.13, 1, Delfina Morosini, URU, 8.93, 2, Ellie Turner, GBR, 7.67, 3, Saffi Vette, NZL, 5.4, 4

Surfing is being contested at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics for the first time in July.  Twenty males and twenty females will compete at the event with country’s fielding a maximum of two athletes in each category.  The 2021 ISA World Surfing Games is the final opportunity for athletes to qualify with seven spots up for grabs in the Women’s Division and five in the Men’s Division.

In 2019 Ella Williams was joined by Billy Stairmand as the two Oceania qualifiers, Stairmand finishing eighth at the event to secure his provisional spot.  The highest placed male and female from Oceania secured Olympic spots provided they finished inside the top 30 at the event.

The 2021 ISA World Surfing Games is being streamed live.  El Salvador is 18 hours behind New Zealand.  Action will take place from approximately 2:00am (NZT) each morning of the event.

Olympic Qualification
The Olympic qualification process started with the World Surf League (WSL) where ten males and 8 females on the 2019 World Tour directly qualified for Tokyo 2020.  No more than two athletes per nation can qualify via this process.

The top ranked male and female surfers from four continents qualified via the 2019 ISA World Surfing Games.  The Americas had a stand-alone qualification event to determine their continental qualifiers.

View the full Olympic qualification system.

About International Surfing Association (ISA)
The International Surfing Association (ISA) is recognised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as the World Governing Authority for surfing, bodyboarding, SUP and surfriding.  It was originally founded as the International Surfing Federation in 1964 and has been running world championships since 1964, and the Junior World Championships since 1980.

Further Information
For further information on the New Zealand Surfing Team please contact Surfing New Zealand’s Ben Kennings on 021 2278732 or email benkennings@surfingnz.co.nz.

Imagery
High resolution action images of team members will be available to media free of charge upon request.

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Author: Ben Kennings