Facing patchy and inconsistent swells for her second-round heat at the Oi Rio Pro on Monday, Kiwi surfer Paige Hareb had to make a decision.
She paddled out and made the call to position herself to the left. Her opponent, American Caroline Marks, sat well off to the right. Through the day's earlier heats, there had been no clear bank where the waves were forming – so positioning was a judgement call.
The decision to sit to the left cost Hareb the heat.
The Kiwi sat dormant in the line-up for over half of the 35-minute heat while down the other end of the beach, Marks was teeing off.
With under 15 minutes remaining and only a 0.30 to her name, Hareb moved toward Marks and began to get to work. Scoring a 4.83 put her back within touching distance, but she wasn't able to catch the young American.
The wave count at the end of the heat told the story – Marks (12.66 heat total) racked up 10 waves while Hareb (7.33) could only com mitt to four. For the fourth time in as many Championship Tour (CT) events this year, the Kiwi found herself knocked out at the first hurdle.
It's been a case of deja vu for Hareb throughout the season. In all four of her first-round heats, she's come close to taking the heat but finished in second of the three in the water only to go on to be knocked out one round later. On three of those four occasions, the athlete Hareb finished ahead of in her opening heat has made it through to round three.
The positive for the 27-year-old was there was another six events left on the 2018 edition of the tour for her to put some results on the board.
After the event in Rio, which could run until May 20, the tour heads to Kreme's, Bali. The competition in Bali is new to the CT this season, replacing the event at Fiji's Cloudbreak.
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