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Surfers Hareb and Stairmand have Olympic qualifying in sight

Paige Hareb will face strong opposition from junior surfers this year.
Photo: Supplied / Cory/NZ Surfing Magazine

New Zealand surfers Paige Hareb and Billy Stairman have met the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifying criteria at the World Surfing Games being held in El Salvador.

Four of six team members remain alive in the event heading into the final three days with New Zealand sitting twelfth overall in the team’s event.

Taranaki surfer Hareb and Raglan’s Stairmand have advanced through to the latter stages of the event and both are guaranteed to finish inside the top 30 athletes – the world governing body’s “quality control ranking” that is set for continental qualifying slots that are on offer at the event.

A total of eight provisional continental qualification spots are up for grabs at this event – one male and one female for each continent – Africa, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

With Australia likely filling their quota of four surfers via the World Championship Tour, this event – which has attracted 297 athletes from 63 countries – becomes the best path to the Paris Olympics for New Zealand surfers.

On Sunday, Hareb came from behind in the last 10 minutes to advance from her heat in second place, behind Japan’s Shino Matsuda.

“Far out that was the hardest, hottest heat I’ve ever had,” commented Hareb.

“To come back and pretty much have a 10-minute heat in those big, tough conditions feels pretty nice.”

Hareb was to resume her campaign early on Tuesday morning (NZ time).

Stairmand followed in Hareb’s achievement on Monday morning, advancing to the last twelve surfers in the main round and beating three-time world champion Gabriel Medina of Brazil in the process.


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