New Zealand surfing could be well represented at the Tokyo Olympics, with Paige Hareb and Ricardo Christie earning the additional route to qualify via the World Surf League Championship Tour.

But the Olympic qualification equation isn't something Hareb is dwelling on this season. The 29-year-old's priority for the season is to maintain her spot on the world's elite tour and, if she can do that, an Olympic berth would be an extra reward.

"Whether it's qualifying for the Olympics or not, I still want a result. I guess Olympics is just a bonus at the end of the year; hopefully it all comes together," she told the Herald.

The top eight surfers on the women's World Tour earn qualification into the Olympics. However, only two from each country can qualify. With the World Tour mostly made up of athletes from Australia and the United States, Hareb will be one of five competing for at least four spots.

Brazilian duo Tatiana Weston-Webb and Silvana Lima, Costa Rican rookie Brisa Hennessy and Frenchwoman Johanne Defay are also eligible to fill any spots not filled by the Australian and American contingent.


After making her return to the world's top tour after a few years in the wilderness last year, Hareb's surfing has continued to improve. She's seeing some benefits of that, with a considerable improvement on her standings through the first four events of the year.

In 2018, Hareb only survived the first elimination round once – at the final event of the year. In 2019, she's already surpassed that mark twice. She said it's just a start from which she wants to push on from.

"All the girls surf amazing on the top tour. Every heat is hard and you have to surf your heart out. It's pretty much all or nothing, the surfing's only getting better. I feel link I'm getting better, but then all the other girls are too," she said.

"After four stops it could've been better, could have been worse."

Hareb was back home in Taranaki this week, enjoying a brief break before jetting off to Brazil for the next event on tour. It will be the first stop in a long journey around the globe for Hareb, who will head to the States, South Africa and across Europe in the next few months.

Following the contest in Brazil, which runs from June 20-28, Hareb will spend some time training in the States at Kelly Slater's wave pool in California and the BSR surf resort in Waco, Texas.

"Kelly's wave pool is pretty perfect. It goes for a minute long so your legs get pretty tired by the end of it but it's the perfect environment to practice manoeuvres over and over again.

"I'm feeling like my surfing's there, everything's just not quite coming together. I'm feeling pretty positive and looking forward to the rest of the year.

"I definitely want more."