Around about this time last year, I remember sitting in almost the same spot at home, writing along the lines of how a good friend had just given me a kick up the bum, re-routed my brain into only positivity, re-aligned my motivation into all the right places of health, fitness and of course surfing.
It was the year where I did some of my hardest and most frequent training, not only pre season but managed to keep a lot of it up during the year, especially when I made a bit of a base in America. When you train hard, become your fittest, healthiest self it’s hard not to have high expectations of doing well, with or without the rose-tinted glasses on every thing. Sitting here now looking back at it all I guess you could almost compare my year to a one year relationship or fling. I fell in love or lust at the start, we rode through the lows and highs together in the middle before eventually coming to a pretty devastating divorce. As I write this, I’m still only just getting over the ugly break up and sewing my heart back together with that some how, still, pretty positive brain of mine.
I even find the double-edged sword theory a positive for me because looking back on this year result wise I can blame myself and admit I made too many silly mistakes for someone who has been doing this for years now (I’m still not calling myself a veteran yet!). Yes the mistakes suck and many of them this year did hurt like a stab wound, the sword even got twisted a few too many times.
I came so close to that top six qualification spots that I even had two chances with two minimal points at two 3000 events compared to the big 6000 events. Costa Rica I had a really good chance against previously World Champion runner up Silvana Lima, only needing a six which I know I can get in my sleep but ended up falling off.
Then there was Japan, which can I just quickly say, why does New Zealand not have heated toilet seats like Japan? Life changing in thee winter, I’m telling ya. This was my first time to Japan, could you tell?
Anyway unfortunately I had a pretty hard time at the contest there. I’m going to try and explain the best I can because even if you’re a surfer it can get a little confusing. The heat started, no one had priority and everyone caught a wave then started paddling back out the back to get priority. Red got out the back first so she had first priority. So I knew I couldn’t catch a wave if red wanted it but there was a wave coming I wanted and the only other two people out there was myself in white and another competitor in blue. When we all caught our first wave, I knew that I caught a wave before Blue and I also knew we had got out the back at a very similar time so in the WSL rule book it says if it’s that close between the surfers back to the take off spot then it automatically goes to the person who caught the first wave; which makes sense, just like a normal fair line system, or like a game of pass the parcel, the parcel always goes to the same person before you and the same person after you. So, I wanted this wave, red let it go, I then looked into the priority boards as I started paddling for it and the boards had first priority red and then three black crosses in a row. Three crosses in a row means the priority judge hadn’t given the other three colours/competitors a priority yet, so it becomes kind of like a free-for-all for us three surfers minus red. Red didn’t want the wave. Yellow was no where in the picture still paddling out.
Just myself and Blue, free for all, I was on the inside closest to the white water so took off; next thing Blue drops in on me, does a cut back only to see me, freak out and pull off straight away.
I kept surfing, a bit rattled, started paddling back out thinking to myself “what the hell was blue thinking?!” only to hear the commentator say “interference white on blue”. I then thought to myself “what? Oh nah he’s got it wrong, Japanese read backwards” but he kept saying it that way. I surfed until two minutes to go hoping they still had it wrong but when blue then dropped in on me again and it was no longer possible to pass the other girls with one wave disqualified, I came in early, ran up the beach and straight in to make a formal complaint of how the priority judge had stuffed up.
Some of my words were “this could be career ending”. From a contest that could of put me into a qualifying position instead it hit me hard. Get me that sword again! I don’t think myself or my parents really had a proper conversation with each other for a good 24 hours because we were all such stunned mullets of what had just happened.
Then there’s that other side of the sword. The “Positive Paige” side. I really like this side! Of course I’ve learnt a lot from my mistakes this year which I can only take onboard (pun intended) and make sure I don’t do them next year. Also the last two years I have come so close to qualifying with too many mistakes so if I can cut even half of those mistakes out next year then I think I have a really good chance. I’ve had a couple of weeks of down time and heartbroken-ness but now I’m right back into it, with my mind set on 2017 qualification and the 2020 Olympics in the near future and starting to fall in love all over again, except like a divorcee; thicker skin, a stronger heart and a lot less money.