Lake Macquarie surfer Paige Haggerston - as she was known as a competitor - turns 30 on Sunday.
She and her husband Lee Kenworthy have four children under five - and so surfing has taken a back seat to parenthood, and to her vocation as a worker in the disability field.
But in a speedy rise to the upper reaches of Australian women's surfing a little over a decade ago, Haggerston peaked with a first place, aged 17, in the national women's titles at the famed Margaret River break in WA in 2008, and a place in the Australian team at the world titles in Ecuador the following year.
THE STORY SO FAR:
- Ten point rides: Newcastle's best surfers across the decades
- 'Girls can't surf?' Yes they can. And how
- Boardriding brilliance on the bus from Wallsend: Kelly Bashford
- Longer hair, shorter boards: Peter Cornish
- 'Radical Roger' Clements, with rare 1968 video footage
- Opposite ends: Smooth Belinda Baggs and the frantic Sabre Norris
Haggerston grew up at Coal Point and started surfing at 13. She progressed quickly, and cites the influence of the high-profile Philippa Anderson, as a friend and mentor, but also a frequent opponent in competition.
"She was the one to beat when I was growing up!" the natural-footed Haggerston said this week.
Haggerston also pushed herself in big waves, making three trips to Hawaii in the late 2000s, including a training camp with other women surfers run by Manly's 1988 world champion, Barton Lynch.
"My dad said if you are going to take competing seriously you need to commit to it," Haggerston said.
"He sent me over there with Barton. There were five of us there for a month, Barton would tow us in on the jetski."
Like a lot of the women at the time, Haggerston said the travel costs of travelling on the world circuit - at a time when prizemoney was usually a fraction of the men's - took their toll.
"Once I won the Australian titles, with all those pressures I mentioned, I fell out of love with competing. You look at everything you've sacrificed to get to that point, and wonder if it's all worth it."
Haggerston also found fulfilment out of the water. She found a carer in the disability sector, which gave her the enjoyment of "looking after other people".
She still keeps tabs on the pro tour.
"What the girls are doing now is pretty amazing. Well beyond where we were when I stopped after Ecuador. They're surfing as good as the guys!"
PAIGE'S COMPETITIVE HIGHLIGHTS:
- 2nd place Open B grade - Icon all girls showdown 2006
- 2nd place Under 16s and 4th place under 18s - Chill Out Surf Classic
- 3rd place under 16s and 3rd place under 21s - Beach Bum Girls Surf Classic
- 3rd place under 18s - Ripcurl Lake Macquarie Grom Search
- 1st place - under 18s Ripcurl Grom Search Tasmania
- 2nd place under 18s -Ripcurl Grom Search Cronulla 2008
- 1st place - Australian national titles Margaret river 2008
- Australian team in the world titles at Ecuador 2009
SUBSCRIBE FOR OUR NEWCASTLE CUP COVERAGE
It's less than a cup of coffee a week. $19.50 a month ($4.50 a week) $187.20 annually upfront ($3.60 a week). Hit the red SUBSCRIBE button on your screen.
IN THE NEWS:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: