Paige Hareb is a professional surfer from New Zealand with an wicked sense of humour and envious, globe trotting lifestyle on all the best waves. We met through the Girl Surf Network and ran a small riot in Manly, during last year’s Australian Open of Surfing. Now the end of the competitive surf season, Paige has been sharing some of her surf fitness workout routines and through her social profiles. After a year away from competing on the women’s world tour, she is more focused than ever to re-qualify. Paige knows that fitness, strength and diet may play a pivotal role in achieving that goal. From speaking with her, she sounds like she’s more fired up then ever. As Serena Williams said, ‘Everyone’s dream can come true if you just stick to it and work hard’. Keeping your surf fitness up in the off season may make all the difference when it’s time to put that jersey back on.
I’m planning on 2016 being an awesome year and re-qualifying for the 2017 Women’s World Tour.
So Paigos, tell us a bit about you and your route to being a professional surfer?
I’m from a little town of about 4,000 people called Oakura, which is on the West Coast of the North Island of New Zealand. I first got into surfing when I was about six years young. I played a lot of different sports growing up and I guess I was quite good at all of them but, eventually had to choose one. I chose surfing because every wave and every surf is different. I knew I would never get bored of it. I started doing well in NZ so ventured over to the Pro Juniors in Australia. In my first year on the qualifying series I won a contest which helped me qualify in the very first year for the World Tour which I didn’t expect to do at all. I guess I would say I’ve been pro for several years now and was on the World Tour for six years. I’m planning on 2016 being an awesome year and re-qualifying for the 2017 Women’s World Tour.
How important is it to be physically fit and in good shape as a surfer? With surfing, what do you specifically need fitness for?
The fitter you are, the better you’re going to feel in and out of the water. Surfing and paddling beats other training because that’s exactly what you want to be doing but I do a lot of running just to keep fit. I’ve started doing a lot of surf specific exercises just to give me that extra advantage when competing. When surfing, you’re using your whole body so you need a good all-round workout but I concentrate on my legs a lot for power and explosiveness and my core for strength and balance. You can never do enough squats and planks haha.
What about competitive professional surfing, how can you fitness set you apart from your fellow competitors?
I think there are a lot of girls that still don’t do enough fitness which is good for me to try and set myself apart from them. Lots of them go for runs and do stretching but they don’t do surf specific training which I think will start needing to do more and more of, since women’s surfing is getting more professional every year.
Who on the women’s world tour trains the hardest?
I would say that Courtney Conlogue and Sally Fitzgibbons are the most dedicated to their fitness training and it pays off pretty well for both of them each year. Then you look at someone like Steph Gilmore. I think she is way more relaxed and relies on her natural talent, maybe she does a few sneaky surf fitness sessions! I think there are more and more girls starting to do more than just surf though.
How do you personally train for surfing?
I’ve just recently found a really good trainer in San Clemente who has given me some awesome tips and a good training program. I’ll admit the last few years, I haven’t been very scheduled with my surf fitness regime but I’ve started training already for next year and I have way more of a set routine which I’m enjoying. It’s pretty hard, but I want to go hard next year so it’s perfect. For competitions, I haven’t made a set plan yet. Maybe just a set warm up so I know exactly what I’m doing every time to get in the right head space. I don’t want to wear myself out before and while I’m competing.
Paige’s exercise for ankles, knees and leg strength:
Here I’m using my core and having to balance while concentrating on bouncing a 4kg medicine ball. In the surf you have to concentrate on what the ocean is doing while doing something else with your body. If you don’t have a half Swiss ball while traveling you can get creative and stand on a full 1 or 2L plastic bottle while lifting another full bottle up and down. Do at least 3 X sets on each leg/side. #yougotit
Since my last #fridayfitness post I’ve had a request asking what exercise helps for ankle, knee and leg strength. Here I’m using my core and having to balance while concentrating on bouncing a 4kg medicine ball. (In the surf you have to concentrate on what the ocean is doing while doing something else with your body). If you don’t have a half Swiss ball while traveling you can get creative and stand on a full 1 or 2L plastic bottle while lifting another full bottle up and down. Do at least 3 X sets on each leg/side. #yougotit ~~~GO in the Draw to win 500g of protein powder – ALL YOU have to do is ‘like’ & ‘share’ my page~~~#inspiration #training #fitness #surf #summer
Posted by Paige Hareb on Thursday, 17 December 2015
This is a simple stair bunny hop to strengthen your quads and increase speed and agility:
As a professional surfer you get to meet some amazing people both in and out of the water. One aspect that has been really helpful is the trainers I have been able to work with to help me keep fit and surf better. So I thought it was time to share some of those key exercises and routines that helped me and they might just help you too! This is a simple stair bunny hop you can do pretty much anywhere to strengthen your quads and increase speed and agility.Thanks to @foundationfitsc for this epic ‘no pain, no gain’ exercise!#training #fitness #surf #rollmodel @mobotnation @newbalancenz
Posted by Paige Hareb on Thursday, 10 December 2015
Leg exercise to build power and explosiveness:
What muscles are particularly important to train as a professional surfer?
To be honest, I think almost the most important one to train is your brain! At the top everyone can be physically at their peak performance but a lot of the time it comes down to making the right decisions out in the water.
Related article: Putting The Flow State into Practice: Tips for surfing
What about yoga and mobility, is this also important to you?
Yes, surfing is a sport where you need strength and flexibility. I’m not too much of a fan of yoga, I get bored and for some reason I enjoy doing my own stretch routine more. Either way they are both good for you and your muscles. It is very important to keep nimble. It helps you keep injury free when you get twisted in weird ways above and underneath the water.
Why do you think that female surfers have such good bodies?
Haha yes, I guess majority of them do! Like I said before, with surfing you’re using pretty much every part of your body and putting moving it through so many angles. If you surf a lot and working your whole body out, then it’s impossible for it to not get good looking unless, of course you’re not eating and drinking a healthy diet too.
What about diet, does food play an important role in your surf fitness?
I kind of wish I could eat whatever I wanted and still be a skinny little 12 year old but that’s not the case anymore. Even if I’m surfing everyday, if I eat the wrong thing I can put on weight easily. As I’ve got older, I’m a lot more aware of what I eat. At the moment I’m on a no-carb and no-sugar diet so manly just meat, salad and nuts. Pretty boring but it works for me. The only drink I have is water and maximum 2 coffees per day but I like to go without coffee every now and then too. I do love lebanese and mexican food! Tabouli salad is one of my favorites except I’ve started just having parsley, onion, mint and tomato in it and taken out the bulgar wheat as it’s a carb. Still delicious!
So Paige, where to next?
I’m now re focused and fizzing to get back on tour and be competitive – not going to just make up the numbers, got really clear objectives going into 2016 to smash the QS and then re assert some Kiwi power back in the CT – Kelly is 43 so I still have a good 20 years surfing to go yet!!!!
What would you say to any women wanting to become a professional surfer?
Never give up. You’re going to have more losses than wins. Even Kelly Slater has that stat to his name so persistence is key. As long as you’re having fun and still enjoying it too.
Paige Hareb surfing – a longggg time ago but still so good!
Thanks so much for sharing your surf fitness and training routine with us Paige. I have no doubt you will get back on tour next year. Keep those surf fitness videos coming – they are inspiring all of us to work hard and train hard.
Follow Paige Hareb on her website, her Facebook, her Twitter or her Instagram. Keep an eye out for her #FridayFitness video posts.