Lakey Peterson finished her first full year on the women’s professional surfing tour with a bang.
The Montecito teen won the women’s pro title Sunday at the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing at the Huntington Beach Pier. Peterson defeated Hawaii’s Carissa Moore in the final, 10.90 to 8.64.
The victory, her first on the Association of Surfing Professionals World Championship Tour, gives her back-to-back championships at the U.S. Open. Last year, she won the junior pro title and finished runner-up in the pro division.
Peterson was mobbed by her sister and brother as she walked out of the surf at Huntington Beach.
“I’m so stoked,” Peterson told the crowd. “I’ve been staying calm and sticking to my game plan. I haven’t been letting anything else faze me and I’ve been staying focused and going out and surfing and having a really good time. I’ve loved every minute of this event and it’s been great.”
She won in less than ideal conditions: mushy, inconsistent waves. She got off to a great start, scoring a 6.50 on her first wave. She followed that with a 4.40. Moore’s best score was a 5.17 on her first wage.
“It’s been a crazy ride, Carissa is one of my favorite surfers and I’m just so stoked to win right now,” said the 17-year-old Peterson. “My family’s here and it’s all just so special. To win in front of a crowd like this, it’s hard to explain.”
The victory vaulted her to seventh in the final world rankings.
“It’s so good,” Peterson said about winning. “I was bummed in my last two events. I got two ninths in a row, so I wanted to do well here.”
The U.S. Open was the last event on the women’s WCT Tour.
Peterson defeated Malia Manuel in the semifinals earlier on Sunday.
Peterson said she was dedicating the title to Daisy Merrick, the 7-year-old granddaughter of Al Merrick of Channel Islands Surfboards. Daisy is battling cancer.