17-year-old Hannah Hill enjoying the ride. Photo: Aaron Black-Schmidt

Meet Hood River’s Rising Race Star, Hannah Hill

Hannah Hill is no stranger to hard work. She is a full-time student, works two jobs, and is ranked among the top fifteen racers in the world. The young paddler sticks to a strict schedule, alternating her time between working and working out in order to improve her fitness and earn money to travel to more events. The Hood River, Oregon local is deeply invested in the SUP community, organizing local charity events and introducing people to the sport whenever possible. At just 17 years old, Hill is out to show the world how far hard work and determination can take her. –Rebecca Parsons

 When did you first get into SUP?

I first got into SUP when I was ten years old. I was living in Minnesota at the time and I would use our Mistral windsurfer with a yoga mat as a deck pad and a canoe oar for a paddle every chance I got. Then, our family friend started a standup group called Wai Nani and every weekend in the summer I would venture out with some awesome local paddlers. I started racing when I was thirteen in Hood River.

What does a typical week of training look like for you?

During a typical week of training in the spring and summer, I try to get on the water every day. Four days a week I help coach Big Winds’ DEVO and JET teams at 6 AM: the kids’ enthusiasm, determination, and silliness make the training sessions very fun. After practice we might throw in a little whitewater adventure. Later in the day I might do a downwinder if the conditions are good (we’d probably still go even if they’re not), but if it’s a flat day I’ll do at least six miles of flat water. If my body isn’t too fatigued after a long day at the beach, I go for a short run or do the Hood River stairs.

Photo: OnitPro

How do you stay in paddling shape during the winter?

It gets cold here in the winter. I go to the local gym quite a bit where I mainly focus on cardio and core to help keep me in shape for the season, but I also love to ski! Cross country skiing is great cross training and downhill is a lot of fun, and it helps keep my lungs and legs strong.

What have been some of the biggest challenges competing at the professional level?

The intimidation factor. These are women that I’ve looked up to for years, so to finally be able to compete against them is daunting. Before the bigger races I get quite nervous because I know that everyone is watching and I don’t want to let anyone down and I feel like I have something to prove. It’s a lot of pressure sometimes. But then I remember why I do this sport in the first place: because it’s so much fun and it makes me happy. When I remind myself of that, the jitters tend to mostly go away.

What are your goals for 2017?

My goals for 2017 include, but are not limited to, racing in bigger, more highly-attended races, which means traveling more. I also would like to finish in the top ten overall this season. I know it’s going to take a ton of hard work, but I’m ready to really go for it. I also want to get more women interested in the sport of standup racing, especially the next generation.

Tell us about the SUP for FISH event you put on.

SUP for FISH was an event I put on with the help of my sponsors to benefit the FISH food bank. It was an all-girls event (we had just over 30 participants) and it was an awesome day filled with paddling, crafts, and outdoor games. We were able to raise over $650 for the food bank!

What advice would you give to other girls trying to break into the SUP race scene?

Don't give up! As long as the sport of SUP racing brings you joy, stick with it. Because all of your hard work will so be worth it when you cross that finish line.

Meet India’s first professional female paddler.

More SUP Women.