New Zealand Surfing Team member Paige Hareb has surfed her way through to the final six surfers in the main round of the Women’s Division at the International Surfing Association (ISA) UR World Surfing Games being held in Japan.

Hareb is leading a team of six Kiwi athletes at the event and on the third day of action posted a first and a second to advance through to Round 5.

Hareb is now two heats away from a podium finish should she remain in the qualifying rounds.  There, she will get the chance to improve on her best ever result of a silver medal.  Her first challenge will be a three-person match up with Justine Dupont (FRA) and Bianca Buitendag (ZAF) scheduled for 11am, Wednesday.

Hareb’s form has been up there with the top surfers having posted the third highest heat score (15.37) of the female surfers and second highest single wave score (9.0).

It is the short 20-minute heats that have put the pressure on Hareb who is used to surfing on the World Tour where heats range upwards of 30 minutes.  This has left the goofy foot surfer chasing progression on several occasions in the last two days.

“They go pretty quick, especially in bigger waves, but I’m enjoying the added pressure of getting the job done quicker. It’s like a good training tool for my other contests this year too” added Hareb.

After a successful day two, Raiha Ensor (Mnt) could not back up her performances on day three and was relegated to the repechage rounds after placing fourth in her heat.  Ensor will be back in action on day four alongside Elin Tawharu (Mnt).

Tawharu advanced through two repechage rounds today, her second performance being the best, finishing with a 10.87 point heat total to finish second behind local surfer Minori Kawai.

In the Men’s Division, Billy Stairmand (Rag) contested his third heat of the day late this evening and came up just short chasing a 4.88 point ride in the dying stages of the heat.  Stairmand finished the event in 25th overall.

It has been tricky on the second podium but we all have had to adapt to the conditions. It’s also pretty difficult with 15-minute heats. It goes really quick and today I ran out of time against Ian Gouveia (BRA) and Jhony Corzo (Mex).

Corzo is the defending champion at the event while Gouveia is one of two World Tour surfers competing this week and a favourite to podium alongside local Japanese hero Kanoa Igarashi.

Levi Stewart’s inaugural event came to an end on day two when he exited the event in 65th along with Zen Wallis (Piha).

“Yesterday was a tough one but that’s surfing I guess” said a philosophical Stewart.

“The experience has been amazing. Getting to surf against the top guys has been a great learning experience for me and the best part by far has been getting to hang out with our awesome team.  I am honoured to be here and representing my country, especially after being told not so long ago that I would never compete again. I’m just stoked to have made it this far” added Stewart who now looks forward to supporting his three teammates remaining in the event.

Zen Wallis suffered at the hands of podium two and the punchy, close-out beach break conditions, unable to find a linking reform to build his points total.

“Everyone in my heat had to deal with the same conditions, I simply couldn’t find a wave that linked up to the inside”.

“We will deal with our loses and use them as fuel for the fire, keep our chins up and help continue our great team vibe and make sure Paige, Elin and Raiha have everything they need and can just focus on their surfing”.

The ISA UR World Surfing Games is contested over seven days at Tahara Beach with over 200 athletes from 42 nations in attendance.

Please see below for results from day two and three of the 2018 UR ISA World Surfing Games held at Tahara Beach, Japan (Monday/Tuesday 17/18 September).

Men’s Repechage Round 2
Heat 14
Ramon Taliani, ITA, 11.70, 1, Tomás Fernandes, POR, 8.54, 2, Levi Stewart, NZL, 7.74, 3, Joel Chavez, NCA, 5.53, 4
Heat 16
Ignacio Gundesen, ARG, 11.87, 1, Callum Robson, AUS, 10.54, 2, Zen Wallis, NZL, 5.94, 3, Zhao Yuanhong, CHN, 3.67, 4

Men’s Repechage Round 3
Heat 2
Jean Carlos ‘Oli’ Gonzalez, PAN, 11.44, 1, Billy Stairmand, NZL, 11.07, 2, Tom Boelsma, NED, 7.67, 3, Maximiliano Cross, CHI, 6.43, 4

Men’s Repechage Round 4
Heat 1
Dextar Muskens, AUS, 10.93, 1, Billy Stairmand, NZL, 10.57, 2, Gatien Delahaye, FRA, 10.40, 3, Dylan Southworth, MEX, 9.27, 4

Men’s Repechage Round 5
Heat 2
Ian Gouveia, BRA, 13.77, 1, Jhony Corzo, MEX, 10.37, 2, Billy Stairmand, NZL, 9.73, 3, John Mark Tokong, PHI, 8.36, 4

Women’s Round 2
Heat 4
Paige Hareb, NZL, 15.37, 1, Mathea Olin, CAN, 10.37, 2, Asaya Brusa, MEX, 6.43, 3, Kim Olga, RUS, 2.6, 4
Heat 5
Justine Dupont, FRA, 13.5, 1, Raiha Ensor, NZL, 10.43, 2, Kailani Kusuma Johnson, INA, 5.47, 3, Eva Woodland, CRC, 4.83, 4
Heat 7
Bianca Buitendag, RSA, 14.34, 1, Pauline Ado, FRA, 11.84, 2, Dominic Barona, ECU, 8.13, 3, Elin Tawharu, NZL, 5.17, 4

Women’s Round 3

Round 3
Heat 2
Paige Hareb, NZL, 13.37, 1, Zoe McDougal, USA, 10.6, 2, Ren Hashimoto, JPN, 9.24, 3, Peony Knight, GBR, 7.2, 4
Heat 4
Pauline Ado, FRA, 14.2, 1, Hinako Kurokawa, JPN, 12.93, 2, Shelby Detmers, MEX, 6.8, 3, Raiha Ensor, NZL, 4.93, 4

Women’s Round 4
Heat 2
Sally Fitzgibbons, AUS, 12.46, 1, Paige Hareb, NZL, 11.37, 2, Sofía Mulanovich, PER, 10.07, 3, Mathea Olin, CAN, 9.27, 4

Women’s Repechage Round 2
Heat 8
Josefina Ane, ARG, 4.56, 1, Elin Tawharu, NZL, 4.5, 2, Lucía Cosoleto, ARG, 4.3, 3, Andrea Vlieg, PAN, 3.17, 4

Women’s Repechage Round 3
Heat 3

Minori Kawai, JPN, 11.27, 1, Elin Tawharu, NZL, 10.87, 2, Natalia Escobar, CHI, 7, 3, Lucía Induraín, ARG, 6.43, 4

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

2018 marks the lead-in to Olympic qualification via the International Surfing Association (ISA) World Surfing Games.  A good team result in 2018 will set up nations with a good seed for their first qualification attempt at the 2019 World Surfing Games.  The top ranked male and female from the Oceania Region at the 2019 event will qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Athletes have a further chance to qualify for the Olympics at the 2020 ISA World Surfing Games where the final four males and six females in each division will be determined by the top placing athletes at that event.  The selections will then need to be ratified by the New Zealand Olympic Committee before being confirmed.

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.

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