Paige Hareb (Tara) has regained the billing as New Zealand's top ranked female surfer after placing fifth at an international event held in Spain over the weekend. The 21 year old surfer now sits in sixth place - two spots clear of Mason and well within the hunt to qualify for the 2012 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World Tour.
Hareb and Mason met in the third round of the event where it was Hareb who gained the upper hand placing second (15.24) in the heat and progressing alongside American dynamo Courtney Conlogue (18.14). The result meant Mason (9.23) finished the event in ninth place.
Hareb went on to face Justine Dupont (FRA) in a head-to-head quarterfinal where she was outpointed 15.44 to 13.43 despite a spirited comeback late in the heat where she scored a 7.9 point ride.
The result pushed Hareb up the rankings by two places to sixth with one event remaining.
Meanwhile Mason fell three places to eighth. Despite her current ranking, the complex ratings system has two surfers ahead of Mason (Courtney Conlogue and Pauline Ado) who have already qualified for 2012 via other means effectively meaning Mason is also in a qualifying position.
The next event for the two girls takes place at Sao Miguel, Portugal starting on the 26th of September where the two surfers will need to secure at least a quarterfinals finish to qualify for the 2012 ASP World Tour.
Jay Quinn (Gis) and Billy Stairmand (Rag) also contested the event with Quinn the highest placed Kiwi male at 17th. Stairmand badly injured his knee training part way through the event and could not make a good fist of his fourth round match up finishing fourth in the heat and 25th overall.
Stairmand will return home to recover from the injury. Quinn heads to Portugal for the next event where he will be joined by Richard Christie (Gis) who is making his way back to Europe for the six-star prime event after taking time out from competition over the past month.