Editor’s note: This article was originally published October 18, 2013
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, they didn’t exactly think she’d conquer the world at age 10. She proved them wrong.)
"As her parents, we are very proud of her," Erin Hager said. "She worked so hard all year and (we) love that her hard work paid off … especially since she is so passionate about the sport."
Raleigh’s idol is professional ocean surfer Kelly Slater, who won the Ocean Surfing World Championships every year for more than a decade. Raleigh wouldn’t mind duplicating his accomplishments - and growing interest in her sport along the way.
The training continues. Raleigh is about to head back to the gym with her trainer Ben Himes at Sharp End Athletics. Look for her on the lake this winter. She’ll throw on her wetsuit and surf even when it’s cold out.
Raleigh says she’s proud of her win and has no plans to retire anytime soon.