Lakey Peterson’s got one hell of a name. Two simple, catchy syllables — easy to chant, easy to remember. Most folks already know the name from last year’s US Open of Surfing, where the hazel eyed rookie claimed her first world tour win. Along with a trophy and a swanky check, Lakey left Huntington Beach with one of the fondest feelings of her life and a newfound appreciation for pressure. —Cash Lambert
LAKEY: When the final horn blew, I couldn’t process it all. I couldn’t even believe it. I felt like there was no way that just happened. Then I got to the sand and my brother tackled me. I was overcome with a rush, feeling so proud and knowing that all of my hard work paid off. And suddenly I was getting chaired up the beach and all these people were screaming and giving me high fives. It was crazy. When I woke up the next morning, I was still buzzing. I went to breakfast and I couldn’t stop smiling. Winning the US Open feels exactly like it looks — absolutely incredible.
It’s not just a surf contest. Surfing is the point of it, but it’s definitely different from any other event. There’s a set schedule, which makes it feel a bit more official. And it’s also bigger and more popular than any other surf event in the world, hands down. It’s a totally different experience.
I really took note of the added pressure last year. It’s weird because you have so much room when you’re in the ocean actually surfing a heat, but the second you come in there is this wall of humans, and there’s announcers and tents everywhere, and people are yelling at you from the pier… It’s like nothing else. But I really enjoy the pressure. It fires me up.