A year ago, Paige Hareb could only sit anxiously and wait while her hopes of qualifying for the World Surf League Championship Tour lay in the hands of another competitor.

This time around, the Kiwi left nothing to chance.

Hareb confirmed her spot with the world's elite in 2019, finishing the year fourth on the Qualifying Series (QS) standings.

A quarter-final finish at the Port Stephens Pro in Birubi, New South Wales, was enough for the Kiwi to finish with a qualification card in her grasp.


The 28-year-old went into the last major QS event of the season third in the standings and, with the top six gaining automatic qualification, very little pressure on her.

"I was able to enjoy myself a bit more," Hareb told the Herald. "There was a whole lot less pressure than last year, even though I put it on myself.

"Hopefully I can get that top qualification spot to give me a better seeding for next year."

There's a chance as many as three surfers qualify for next year's tour through both the CT and QS. Their spot on the QS will go to the next best surfer. If there are three double qualifiers, Brazilian Silvana Lima will maintain her spot on the CT. Should Coco Ho and Nikki van Dijk join Caroline Marks in securing double qualification, Hareb would be the highest qualifier from the QS.

As well as earning her spot on the Championship Tour, Hareb had the chance to unofficially qualify in New South Wales for the 2020 Olympics. However, with young Costa Rican star Brissa Hennessy doing enough to earn CT qualification, Hareb's next opportunity to secure an Olympics berth will be the final event of the 2018 CT season in Hawaii next month.

Eight surfers from the CT are selected for the Olympics, and a country can be represented by only two surfers in both the male and female fields.

With the majority of the CT comprised of Australians and Americans, surfers from the rest of the world have a great chance to secure an Olympics berth next year.

With Hareb 18th on the CT this year, she said there was no pressure on her to perform in Maui next month, with her spot in next year's tour already locked up.

Women's qualifying series standings
1. Caroline Marks* (USA) - 20,700 points
2. Nikki van Dijk* (Australia) - 18,850
3. Coco Ho* (Hawaii) - 18,650
4. Paige Hareb (New Zealand) - 15,400
5. Bronte Macaulay (Australia) - 14,900
6. Macy Callaghan (Australia) - 13,800
7. Brissa Hennessy (Costa Rica) - 13,400
8. Malia Manuel (Hawaii) - 13,350
9. Silvana Lima (Brazil) - 13,180

* - currently in position to requalify via Championship Tour