Surfing: Paul picks up just where she left off

By Hannah Norton

Sandy Bay surfer Wini Paul briefly came out of retirement and ripped up at Raglan's Rip Curl Pro last weekend.

She took out the women's division with a display of power and tight turns, in the final surfing to a 15.73 point heat total leaving her opponents requiring massive scores.

"I was just having a lot of fun and that's why I think I won," Paul said.

Of her high score she said: "I was just surfing like one of the boys."

"I was really happy to win in Raglan - especially since I went to school there," she said, referring to the Raglan Surfing Academy.

It was the 23-year-old's first national win since 2007 when she claimed the honours in the National Championships in Taranaki.

She then spent five years surfing and living on the Gold Coast, travelling the world and receiving guidance under one of Australia's best surfing coaches - Mark Richardson.

Then a year ago she opted to retire from professional surfing, and returned to Northland last September.

She completed her superyacht crewing certificate then enjoyed a Sandy Bay summer - which included another win in the women's division of the Sandy Bay leg of the Hyundai longboard tour.

"It is funny because back then I was training and surfing every day but now I am busy with work and only able to surf weekends and stuff," she said.

She now hopes to get work on superyachts, although her recent win has made it "harder for me to want to leave," she said.

Open Women's Final: Wini Paul (Sandy Bay), 15.73, 1, Ella Williams (Whmata), 11.5, 2, Mischa Davis (Auck), 10.43, 3, Alexis Poulter (Rag), 6.5, 4.

- Northern Advocate

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