For Paige Hareb, more opportunities to charge a left-handed break on the World Surf League Championship Tour wouldn't go amiss.
As a goofy-footer - riding with her left foot at the back of her board - she was set to spend the majority of the year taking off on her backhand against a field that was 70 per cent regular footed.
In the 2018 season, only three of the nine natural breaks on tour offer regular opportunities to go left.
"I'd definitely like to see more lefts on tour," Hareb said. "To be the world champ you have to be able to show you can surf in all conditions, and it would make it more fair. But I know WSL have said they want to get a few more lefts."
Hareb will get her opportunity to go left at the next Championship Tour (CT) event, in Brazil next month, but will go into the competition at the foot of the ladder.
The 27-year-old had suffered second-round exits at each of the opening three events of the year, after being eliminated by defending world champion Tyler Wright at the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia on Monday.
In a hotly contested heat, which was delayed in starting due to sharks in nearby waters, the riders both looked sharp on the water. Hareb got one opportunity to go left and took it, but admitted she would have been better to let it pass.
"Yeah it was probably a bit of a mistake for me to go on that one but I saw it and just thought 'oh, a left'."
Nonetheless, Hareb looked set to pull of the upset when, needing a 6.31 for the lead, she scored a 6.43. But with just moments left on the clock, Wright ripped a wave and was awarded a solid score to progress.
While she'd like to see more of them in the future, Hareb wasn't using the lack of left-handed breaks as an excuse for her recent performances, and said that was simply down to the level of her competition.
"I feel like my surfing's pretty good but these girls are the best in the world so I've got to be on my game to beat them," Hareb said. "I'd rather lose like that in a close battle with someone like Tyler than get smashed by her.
"I'm a little bit guttered and frustrated but I guess it just adds fuel to the fire."
Hareb was now set to have almost a month off competing, during which she'd travel back to New Zealand and spend time at home in Taranaki, before heading to California for the inaugural Founder's Cup.
The event - held at Kelly Slater's Surf Ranch - was set to run on May 6 and 7 (NZ time), after which Hareb would travel to Brazil for the start of the Oi Rio Pro on May 11.
While she'd go into that event with ground to make up on the CT, Hareb was still among the top riders on the qualifying series. While she hadn't started the CT season as she'd hoped, Hareb wasn't letting the situation get her down.
"It's early days on both tours and it's a long year so you can't let yourself get too negative about it."
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