Lakey Peterson (USA), 18, has emerged on a fast track from the amateur ranks to the ASP Women’s World Tour. Her pre-tour air reverses and eye-blinking qualification campaign are the textbook representation of the rapid progression of the women’s surfing movement. At only 18 years of age, Peterson has already wrapped up her rookie year on the ASP Women’s WCT. While most young competitors are amidst their ASP Pro Junior careers, Peterson has joined the ranks of her fellow teenage compatriots that breathe maturity and class to the highly discussed group of women’s surfers.
Peterson donated a dangerous preview of things to come in her first career ASP WCT event as a 16-year old wildcard, trouncing the field on her way to an equal 3rd place finish at the US Open of Surfing. The young natural-footer faced the same learning curve that all rookies take on after tackling the tour full-time, adapting to new lineups and a non-stop travel schedule, but found success early on, notching a 5th place at Bells and a 3rd in New Zealand for a solid start to her campaign.
“Yeah my rookie year was crazy,” Peterson said. “I feel like I learned so much. It was definitely an experience traveling so much and not getting to be home with my family and friends all the time. It was a hard adjustment to be sleeping in a different bed every week and with all the time change and things it was hard. I feel like that is how a rookie year is for everyone though, just a big learning experience and that’s what its all about!”
Following her early season success, Peterson battled to find a rhythm mid-season, exiting the next three events with equal 9th place finishes. The natural-footer found it hard not to be discouraged, but remained focused as the season pushed on.
“Having the chance to surf so many amazing waves that I never had before was awesome. Being able to compete against all of my heroes was crazy as well. I loved it! Overall, I feel good about my rookie year. Looking back I don’t think I would have wanted it to go any different. Until the US Open I was getting really frustrated with myself because I kept losing 3rd round but I was working so hard. I was confused on why all the hard work wasn’t paying off.”
Despite the challenges, Peterson’s year would end in idyllic redemption, capping off her rookie campaign with a massive victory at the Nike US Open of Surfing.
“At the US Open it just all clicked. I realized if I wouldn’t have had those losses I wouldn’t have learned the things I did and therefore I don’t think I would have won the Open. It was crazy! I still kind of can’t believe it. When I wake up in the morning and see that trophy in my room it blows me away every time that it actually happened. Also, it gives me a lot of confidence going into next year. Just knowing that I can win an event and knowing how hard I need to work and what I need to do to get there. But now I know its possible and I know how it feels to win. I want to have that feeling forever! Haha”
With one full season and one major victory under her belt, the young regular-footer is ecstatic to enter 2013 with new insight and is poised to strike at the ASP Women’s World Title.
“I feel like I definitely have more of an advantage moving in to this year. Like I keep saying, I just feel like 2012 was such a big learning experience for me over all. Going into 2013 I know what to expect now at every event and I also know what the judges want to see which is a big part of it I think. My Goal is and always will be to win a world title. It’s going to be hard and all of the girls on tour are ripping! I am just going to focus on what I need to do and hopefully it all works out eventually. But overall my goal is to just be happy and enjoy this incredible journey I am on. I never want to forget how blessed I am to do what I do.
With the ASP Women’s WCT season culminating in August, the ASP Top 17 have the opportunity to explore new avenues away from competition. Peterson used the downtime to work on a new movie based on her life titled Zero to100. With the American winter settling upon us, the the 2013 ASP Women’s WCT is around the corner and the Californian is in full training mode, shaping herself up to be her best next season.
“It’s been so nice being home for a little while. I left a few days after the US Open for Bali. We had a blast over there and got some really fun waves. After that I took a month off and just did whatever, played golf, jet ski, visited my sister in San Francisco, and I went to NYC for a few days which was fun! Also, I have a movie coming out about my life called Zero to 100, so I have been busy overseeing all the editing on that and everything. I am really excited for the world to see it when it comes out in late January! Now I am back on the grind… surf, trampoline, surf, gym, school, repeat. haha but its good I am having fun and loving every minute of it.”
When Peterson returns to the ASP Women’s WCT, she’ll be competing with new stickers on her board. The Santa Barbara talent is one of several Nike sponsored surfers who have just been transferred to the Hurley Team and after a detailed meeting cleared up any apprehension, Peterson is optimistic regarding the sponsorship change moving forward.
“It’s been a crazy few days with all the Nike and Hurley stuff going on. It just kind of came out of left field to everyone I think. At first I didn’t really know what to think, just confused, but to be honest now that I have learned more about exactly what is going on and how it is going to be I am SUPER stoked! I have always loved the Hurley women clothes and really respected them as a company. Bob (Hurley) is amazing and so is the whole Hurley team. It is all going to be really great overall.”
Peterson will be back in a jersey at the season opening Roxy Pro Gold Coast.