The summer Raleigh was 5, she learned how to surf on a summer trip to California. Over the next three years, she kept at it with her family on their vacations to the West Coast and on weekend trips to the Gulf of Mexico closer to their home of Austin, Texas. Then, in 2010, when she was 8, she started wakesurfing on Lake Austin. Pretty soon, she was hooked. She and her dad, J.B., started heading out in the boat almost every day, and Raleigh's lightness and tricks caught the eye of local wakesurfers. She started to launch into local competitions (taking first place at Waketoberfest 2011 in Canyon Lake) and take on some awesome sponsors.
In 2012, she decided to venture into the pro world, competing at the national level against women twice her age. She placed third at West Coast Open in Women's Pro Surf and third at National Championships in Women's Pro Surf. Those events qualified her World's in Parker, Arizona in September 2012.
Raleigh was the last seed on the first day of the World Championships. Day two she was 5th, and going into the finals she was 4th. Raleigh surprised everyone will a killer run on the last day and won the title of 2012 Women's Pro Wakesurf World Champion.
In 2013 Raleigh continued into her second season in Pro Women's Surf. She made the podium at all her events including 1st at West Coast Open, Mexico Championships, Arizona Championships, The 10,000 Lakes Open, The U.S. National Championships. She repeated for 2013 by becoming the 2x Women's Pro Surf Style World Champion.
Raleigh is an animal lover and has a dog, two gerbils, fish and a pet pig named Fergus that she won on a wager with her dad, which was that she could get one if she got on the podium at Worlds.
She's also a big fan of ice cream, riding her skateboard and English-style jumping on horseback.
Raleigh turned 13 in November 2014
When Raleigh Hager competed as a 10-year-old against seasoned professionals in the Women’s Pro Wakesurf circuit in 2012, she garnered a lot of dubious attention. “I definitely remember getting some weird looks,” Hager says. “A few people asked if I was looking for the amateurs.” Three years later, the two-time wakesurfing world champion and Westlake seventh grader is surprisingly humble in spite of her head-turning ascent and seems reluctant to list her accomplishments. She’d rather let her surfing do the talking. She’s known for her fluid, natural style and “big air” aerial jumps, propelling herself above the wake amid reverse 360s and 720s at heights comparable to top male pros. (Her signature board, designed by sponsor Day 1 Wake, is called “The Phenom.”) When she’s not competing, 13-year-old Hager loves to hang out with friends on Lake Austin, just minutes from her family’s home, whether they’re surfing to her favorite music or paddleboarding to Mozart’s. She also has multiple pets at home, including a pig named Fergus and 10 Firebelly toads that she keeps in her...more
Covert Ford of Austin Tx is proud to announce their sponsorship of two-time Women's World Champion, 12-Year old wakesurfer, Raleigh Hager.
“It has been amazing and a thrill to watch Raleigh’s progression and the attention she has brought to wakesurfing in Austin”, said Kenny Covert. “My family grew up boating on Texas lakes, having the right tow vehicle can make all the difference. It will be no time at all before Raleigh is behind the wheel. We’re happy to give our support to Raleigh and wakesurfing.”
Raleigh has been on the rise in the fast growing sport of wakesurfing over the last few years with podium appearances nationwide, in Europe and Mexico. Raleigh won her first world championship at age 10, her second at 11. Having just turned 12 last November, Raleigh adds Covert Ford to an impressive group of sponsors along with Centurion, Day1 Wake,...more
DAY1 Wake is very pleased to announce the addition of reigning 2-time Women’s World Champion Raleigh Hager to their 2014 Wakesurf Team. In the last few years Raleigh has captured the minds and hearts of wakesurfing fans and competitors alike. Working with Raleigh during the off-season, DAY1 Wake was able to dial in a winning board design while familiarizing the Hager family with their brand and philosophy that motivates people to improve on a daily basis. DAY Wake is honored to contribute to Raleigh’s future success as an accomplished athlete, on and off the water.
“Over the last year we have focused on growing the awareness of the sport, advancing our board designs, and solidifying our team. The addition of Raleigh is really a capstone to this effort that allows the company, team, and the larger community of riders to continue moving in a very positive direction – pushing our potential on a daily basis,” says Bryce McDonald, co-founder of DAY1 Wake.
“I tried out several boards before making my decision, and I chose Day 1 because their board allowed me to...more
It's a perfect Austin afternoon; we walk the dock between Hula Hut and Abel's on the Lake just a hop, skiff, and a puddle jump from Tom Miller Dam. Leigh Fulkerson gently pulls up in her Super Air Nautique G23, a boat the sales brochures say was "created from the wake up." The boat is all-sinew, built for speed, power, and a nuanced agility to turn lake water into consistent wake surf.
Fulkerson – pals with J.B. Hager, best known as half of the Austin morning radio team J.B. & Sandy – has offered to pilot her craft so we might catch J.B.'s daughter – the women's world champion in wakesurfing – in action. Pretty soon, popular J.B. may have to adjust to being better known by his other role: as Raleigh Hager's dad.
Generally, power boats don't get names (the Minnow, the Bismarck, the African Queen ... ), but if they did, says Fulkerson, she'd name this baby B.A.B., or Big Ass Boat. She, like the younger Hager, enjoys wake sports. Once we clear the wake-free zone and get near the 360 bridge, Raleigh puts in and begins her ride. In no time, she's doing things...more
12) Pro wakesurfer Raleigh Hager's current age
11 ... or 10) Number of pets, including Fergus the pig and her horde of gerbils
9) Her age when she switched to all wakesurfing
8) Current number of first-place titles
7) Current number of professional sponsorship contracts
6) Number of states in which she has podium'd
5) Her age when she first tried surfing
4) The grade she was in when she began competing locally
3) The rank she earned at her first Austin competition in 2011: the Sail & Ski Barrel Boss, Junior Division
2) Current number of world-championship wins
1) Her current rank in women's wakesurfing – in the worldmore
Raleigh Hager has been wakesurfing Lake Austin – or as she hashtags it, #LATX – for the past four years. A two-time women's world champion with eight other first-place titles under her belt, Hager is kind of a big deal, not only in the sport but also as an emergent, bona fide, locally sourced Austin celebrity.
Did we mention she's 12?
Hager won her first championship at the age of 10 and has been winning ever since. With as many wins as she's accomplished, the Hill Country Middle School sixth-grader has also earned a number of wakesurf sponsors, including Day1 Wake (which developed a pro-model board – the "Phenom" – in her honor) and a boat sponsorship which comes with a place on Centurion Boats' professional team. It also should be noted that almost-teenager Raleigh makes really funny, focused faces when she's deep in her zone, high atop a wake, and that she has a serious appreciation for black nail polish.
Austin Chronicle: You're originally from Austin. Do you like it?
Raleigh Hager: Yeah!
AC: What's your favorite restaurant?
Merced, CA May 16th, 2014; Centurion Boats is proud to announce Raleigh Hager as the newest member of the Centurion professional wake surfing team. At just 12 years of age, Raleigh Hager is the youngest Women’s World Wake Surfing Champion who has won the feat twice now. An accomplished wake surfer from Lake Austin, Texas, she becomes Centurion’s youngest team member joining other World Champions, Bri Chmel, Drew Danielo, Adam Fields and Keenan Flegel on the Centurion World Champions Team.
Raleigh said, “The FX44 wake is very steep, long and clean which allows me to do great airs. Centurion listens to the riders, what they want and is very respectful to their team athletes. I’m very excited and honored to be a part of such a great team and boat company that is promoting the sport that I love so much.”
Raleigh’s achievements at her young age are astounding. She’s earned over $40,000 since becoming a professional competitor only two years ago at the World Wake Surfing Championship in Parker, AZ. Raleigh rides behind the 2014 CATS and RAMFILL powered...more
Austin’s wake surfing champ
By Emily Laskowski
When Raleigh Hager was 10 years old, she won her first world championship in wake surfing, and AFM sat down for a chat with the young pro athlete (“10-year-old Rules Wake Surfing World,” December 2012). Now, Hager, 12 years old and in middle school, won her second consecutive Pro Women’s World Wake Surfing Championship in October 2013 and we’re back for another visit.
Raleigh Hager may be a phenom in wake surfing but, at home, she’s just Raleigh, a typical kid.
With the support of her parents, Erin and JB, and many pets—including a dog, pig, and new litter of baby gerbils—Hager trains three to four times a week on the water and twice a week doing strength and conditioning. While she admits that she should be practicing more often, Hager also concedes that, now, in the sixth grade, she “has a lot going on.” Like many 12-year-olds, Hager is moving at a mile a minute. She goes from brushing her hair to checking her phone to playing with the dog to jumping on the trampoline to skateboarding inside the...more
When 11-year-old Raleigh Hager went to the Pro Women’s World Wake Surfing Championship, there were monitors everywhere and a jumbo-tron for those watching on the shore of a private lake just outside Las Vegas. But Hager, of West Lake Hills, didn’t see any of that. It was just her, her board and a few judges in a boat creating the wake she rode. “She just goes out there and has fun,” said her dad, JB Hager. “She’s very removed from the judging while all the parents are analyzing everything.” “When I’m up (on the wave), I don’t think of anything,” the 11-year-old said. “When I fall, I think of things I’m going to do on my next run.” Hager won that competition last month, making her the wake surf champion for the second year in a row. She competed against four other women, all adults. Hager, a sixth-grade student at Hill Country Middle School, started wake surfing when she was 8. “I thought it looked really cool,” she said. The wipeouts also hurt less than those she experienced at a few surfing lessons during vacations to San Diego because the boats typically travel about 10...more
Can we call it a dynasty yet? Austin wake surfing phenom Raleigh Hager, the 11-year-old daughter of JB and Erin Hager (yes, JB of the JB & Sandy Show on radio station Mix 94.7), chalked up her second victory in two years at the 2013 World Wake Surfing Championship. That makes her the two-time reigning Pro-Women's World Wake Surfing Champ. And she's half as old as most of her competition. A hundred athletes from around the world competed for $100,000 in prizes at the tournament, held on a private lake near Las Vegas in late September. Riders had to earn a spot in the invitational competition by placing in the World Series of Wake Surfing in 2013. Raleigh qualified with first place wins in Mexico, Arizona, Minnesota and Georgia, and a second place finish in Switzerland. She took first place at the Las Vegas competition. Ashley Kidd of Corpus Christi took second and Stacia Bank of Minneapolis took third. Raleigh grabbed her first world title in 2012. That win earned her a pet pig from her parents, who promised her the bristly, four-legged pet named Fergus if she won. (No,...more
2012 Women’s Pro Wakesurf Champion Raleigh Hager is knocking out the competition.
By Tamsyn Stonebarger
“There’s nothing wrong with falling,” surfer Raleigh Hager says as she gets back on her hot-pink wakeboard, with Bob Marley playing on the boat. It seems like a typical thing for a world champion wakeboard surfer to say, but seeing as she’s 11 years old, it really leaves an impression. At the age of eight, when Hager was just beginning to learn how to drop the rope and ride the wake, her natural talent caught the eye of her now coach and board shaper, Billy Clark. Clark approached Hager and her family at a boat gas station asking if he could coach her, and he forecasted, “That girl is going to be the world champion someday.”
Little did he realize how soon someday would be. Clark created a custom pink board that became her trademark, and Hager rode all the way to the 2012 Women’s Pro World Championship. Clark does more than make pretty boards that win competitions though.
“Well, his wake is a lot different,” explains Hager, “more like a...more
World champion wake surfer and West Lake Hills resident Raleigh Hager has brought home victories from Mexico, Switzerland and Arizona this May and June, and she’s not planning on slowing down.
Eleven-year-old Raleigh, who has only been competing at the pro women’s level for a year and a half, sees world domination as her goal. She plans to win the World Championships of wake surfing in Las Vegas again this year, and as many years after that as she can, she said.
“I like the feeling of landing a big trick, like a reverse 360 or something,” Raleigh said. “[I feel] happy, proud I didn’t fall.”
West Lake Hills’ resident wake surf champion has been practicing five times a week for competition season this year. This season, Raleigh has five new tricks to show the judges.
“It’s always cool to see people’s reactions once they see her surf, especially if they’ve not seen her surf before,” said Raleigh’s mother, Erin Hager. “They say ‘what? Why is she not in junior’s?’ It’s just neat to see their expressions when they see her do her stuff because they’re...more
What separates your board from the competition?
I don’t want to give away too many secrets, but my board is very light, more like an ocean board. The fins are huge, it’s an original shape.
What is the big difference between a custom board and a manufactured board?
I have a hard time riding a manufactured board. Manufactured boards are are thinner, but heavier. They aren’t as maneuverable. With a custom you can decide the thickness, the size, really choose what it looks like. When you get it, it feels so great. They are super light and I like riding bigger fins.
Why is a custom board so important in wakesurfing competitions?
With a custom board, I’m able to control it much better. You’re the one who decided how it is. It’s more fun at a competition if people ask where you got it. If it’s manufactured you’re just like “Oh, I got it from a factory or something like that”. With a custom board, you could be like “I got it from this really cool custom guy in Jamaica or something like that (laugh). No, It’s cool that it’s hand shaped with the...more
Austin, Texas native Raleigh Hager's got it goin on - big time. At the ripe old age of only 11, she's the reigning Women's World Wakesurfing Champion and we had the pleasure of interviewing her recently about this burgeoning action sport. Besides the obvious super coolness of getting to interview the world champ, what's extra rad about this is the fact that we here at GOAB have never done anything related to wakesurfing at all! So this is a first all around!
Admittedly, we didn't know a whole heck of a lot about the sport of wakesurfing, so it was cool to hear what Raleigh had to tell us about how it's done and we're stoked to give it a go ourselves now!
GOAB: So first question is just to clear up what could be some confusion amongst our readers since most of our readers are traditional ocean surfers and/or skateboarders. What exactly is wakesurfing and how does it differ from wakeboarding? Are the 2 terms interchangeable?
RH: Wakeboarding is a hard board with boots and you ride with a long rope....more
Austin Fit Magazine. December 2012
When she sits down for her interview, Raleigh Hager doesn't respond to most of the questions directly. Rather, she turns back to her mom first, as if she's looking for some sort of approval for what she's about to say. Or, as likely, she's double checking what she's actually supposed to be doing here. Because she's only ten it's hard to fault her for not fully embracing the situation. Since when are pint-sized fifth graders, fresh off the playground, ever expected to fully ponder the depth of their actions and consider the extent of their potential anyway? Mom, a little help please?
Only, Hager's talent isn't just potential anymore. At the ripe old age of ten, Hager has landed herself at the top of a very distinct and emerging sport without really aiming for it. With roughly only two years of practice and seven competitions under her belt, Raleigh Hager ended up the...more
Representing Austin, Texas; Raleigh Hager absolutely blew the crowd away with her aerials with an extremely high degree of air and amplitude. Determined to take home her share of $40,000 in the Women’s Pro Surf she decorated her finals pass with a backside suface rotation, a variety of grabs and closed her run with a series of air 180′s to take home her first World Wake Surfing Championship. At only 10 years of age, Raleigh earned $6,000 becoming the World Champion against competitors that were more than double her age!more
Local pro, 10, will compete with the big girls this weekend By Pam LeBlanc
Turns out you don't need an ocean full of waves spit out by Mother Nature to hang 10 when you've got a lake and a boat.
Surfing in Central Texas even boasts some advantages over more traditional meccas: No sticky salt water, skin-shredding coral reefs or men in gray suits, otherwise known as sharks. Factor in plenty of easy lake access and warm weather, and voila — Austin's becoming a Hill Country Honolulu.
"Our scene crushes everybody else," says Billy Clark, who teaches lessons through his business, Austin Surf Company, and manufactures lightweight wake surf boards.
Wake surfing isn't entirely new. Water skiing came first. But as far back as the 1950s, land-locked surf bums hit the lake, dragging their unwieldy long boards behind boats. In the 1990s, shorter, fatter wakeboards took over, and a whole culture of high-flying tricks evolved.
In Austin, wake surfing debuted in the early 1990s. In 2005, it heated up. Today, wake...more