Senior Rex Hill won his first National Scholastic Surfing Association (NSSA) competition on the weekend of September 22 in Santa Cruz, landing him sponsorships with Proof Lab and Rip Curl, two big surfing apparel companies.
“I focused on every wave and just tried to take it heat by heat,” Hill said. “You can’t let your nerves get to you and you just have to go for the most extreme maneuver in the current condition.”
Hill grew up surfing Muir Beach with his dad, who started teaching him to surf at the age of three. Surfing wasn’t Hill’s only focus when he was young; he played other sports including baseball and swimming. Around eighth grade, Hill decided to focus solely on surfing and hasn’t looked back. With the help of his dad, Hill has been able to surf and compete around California and has traveled to Mexico on five different occasions, to improve his surfing.
“Surfing in Mexico gives you so much more time on the waves to focus in and get comfortable with what you’re doing,” he said. Waves in Mexico are just longer smoother waves so it allows Hill to really work on his skills. Hill surfs 7-10 times a week and plans on surfing more over the break. He surfs before school, after school, and on the weekends.
The Santa Cruz competition was Hill’s first of the season.
“I’ve always wanted to win one of these contests and when I finally did it was a great sense of accomplishment. There really aren’t that many people from this area to pursue these competitions and to win one it felt great to represent Mill Valley,” he said.
He went on to win every heat in every division he competed in. This was huge for Hill and really put him on the map for sponsors. Soon after this contest, he was approached by Rip Curl and Proof Lab. Now Hill receives free apparel so he can promote those brands. Rex plans on continuing to compete this season and is hoping to compete in professional competitions on the World Surf League tour, one of the biggest tours in the world.