Austin Monthly Whiz Kids: Raleigh Hager
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 room. Right now, Hager is working on switch tricks in preparation for the upcoming surf season. But beyond her competitive aspirations, she is particularly excited about something else—learning how to drive a boat, her very own MasterCraft X23, which she received from her sponsors in February. This will be her fourth season competing as a pro, but Hager says it’s far from old hat. “I still get butterflies every time I zip up my wetsuit,” she says.