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Another year, another Paige.

 

If you missed out on my last blog, late last year, it was basically explaining how I tried and went so hard, came so close but again came heartbreakingly close to one of my main goals to re-qualify for the WSL Women’s World Tour.

Now this year I guess I have a slightly different perspective and approach. The saying “if it ain’t broke, don’t try to fix it” comes to mind. Well actually, the last two years of missing out by only a couple of spots has made me think that it might actually be broken. Last year I surf and trained so much that I even had a crying breakdown from over training.

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Late last year and this year may of been good for me in retrospect. At the time, I was getting a bit worried about my home town Taranaki not having a summer, wind, rain and brain freeze makes it hard to get motivated every single day so I admit it, I didn’t surf anywhere near as much and I was aware of my training breakdown this time last year so didn’t train as much either. Like any athlete, you get a bit worried about not doing enough or doing too much and sometimes find it hard to find that perfect balance of hard work and play. I definitely was a bit worried there for awhile about not doing enough but then in the surfs that I did have, I felt really good, if not surfing the best I’d felt in awhile! Almost like I had hit a ‘refresh’ and ‘froth’ button. I surprised myself.

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I had a few MtWoodgee surfboards stashed away in my boardroom at home that are over two years old. I needed to take some back to the MtWoodgee factory on the Gold Coast so started sorting through them. I found a 5’5 round tail that I decided to try out again for something different to my standard boards and for “fun”. Guess what? I planned to give it back then I rode it again and it’s become one of my favourite boards once again! It’s so dinged up, has a couple of cracks that I need to fix but I rode it in my first warm-up 1000 event at Burleigh Heads in January and the spark it had felt like a brand new board! Helping me get all the way to a third place finish. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks!

I’ve even started getting into yoga over here in Kingscliff, NSW where I base myself with fellow competitor and good friend Codie Klein. I’ve always liked stretching by myself because I can do it when and where I want and for a short time but going to these yoga classes has been a good physical and mental challenge for me. To keep my attention span for a whole hour focusing on my breathe was quite a struggle and almost frustrating at the start but now I’m almost craving that time, it’s still physically and mentally challenging but I have also been enjoying being in that moment for a whole hour not thinking or worrying about anything else. Don’t worry I’m not going to get all spiritual on you and I’ll tell you the truth that somehow I felt tighter and more sore after yoga rather than the common mindset of being more flexible and loose! Haha go figure! Either way, if I like something, I’m going to do it!

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As I write this, there’s one more week to go until my first big event of the year, a 6000 in NewCastle, Australia. I’m currently having a rest day from being surfed out, done a bit of coaching and even got to try the Australian High Performance Centre skate ramps to practice airs which was pretty cool since the ‘Aussies’ have never allowed this little kiwi girl to go on it before. They’re a little bit competitive!

I’m feeling relaxed, confident, a few nerves and excitement to start this new Paige ball rolling and start racking up points and results for 2017. Best of luck to all the other kiwis too, come on! We’ve got this!

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A wrap (or crumble) for 2016

 

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.