Community turns out for first Lakey Peterson Leadbetter Classic

 

It was the inaugural Lakey Peterson Leadbetter Classic, but Saturday’s local youth surfing contest felt like a throwback for the professional surfer.

“It’s so cool for me to be able to give back. I remember when I was exactly like these kids, just loving these beach days. I just think that we forget how fun it is to come together as a community.”

Peterson, who just finished the year ranked No. 6 in the world, spends most of her time on the road these days but she doesn’t forget her roots. She was at Leadbetter not long after sunrise and stayed until dark.

“For me growing up I always did the local contests, the Rincon Classic and there was one at Campus Point, I just remember it being the best memories and best times so I am so stoked that the community came out for this one,” Peterson said. “It’s such an honor to be from Santa Barbara with all these great people.”

Lakey Peterson is ranked No. 6 in the world.

Lakey Peterson, riding a wave at Leadbetter on Saturday, is the No. 6-ranked female surfer in the world. (Presidio Photos)

The LPLC was a “locals only” contest for surfers aged 14 or younger. Eighty four competed in a handful of divisions, including a beginner’s group that Peterson helped push into waves.

“A few of them I definitely know from the lineup, a lot of them are surfing so good,” Peterson said. “But then there’s a lot of new faces too which is really cool to see.”

Contest director Chris Keet handed out raffle prizes and trophies at the end of the day.

Contest director Chris Keet handed out raffle prizes and trophies at the end of the day.

Kilian Garland, Demi Boelsterli and Peterson surfed just before sunset in a professional expression session. All surfers enjoyed some swell at the often-times flat Leadbetter point break. Waves ranged from 1-to-3 feet under mostly cloudy skies.

The event was run by Rincon Classic director Chris Keet and was used to promote the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation and Surf Happens’ High-Five initiative. The High-Five program is designed to offer people a simple way to help reduce trash at the beach.

“Anytime you go to the beach you just pick up five pieces of trash. It started with Surf Happens and through Chris Keet, but the goal is to make it go huge,” Peterson explained.

Keet’s effort to reduce his footprint from his surfing contests extended to the awards ceremony, where Keet handed out prizes from sponsors, like a GoPro camera and a skate deck from Arbor, and then distributed trophies that had already been given out at previous contests to other surfers.

It’s a way to acknowledge the journey rather than the hardware, he explained.

“A little story. All these trophies are recycled,” Keet said. “This one right here is when Conner Coffin won the (NSSA) National Championship. This one is going out today; we decided to give it to, I think it’s the U8, the youngest.”

It’s also a way to connect different generations of local Santa Barbara surfers.

“I gave all my trophies away to kids like Kilian (Garland) and the Coffin brothers, and Lakey, and told them, look, it’s not about the trophy, it’s about the journey. My dream was that they would start recycling their trophies once they moved on and didn’t care any longer. We’ve recycled over 3500 trophies.”

Next up for Keet is the Rincon Classic. The waiting period begins on January 9.

Peterson begins the 2015 ASP World Tour in February.

Kilian Garland, pictured, paddled out with Demi Boelsterli and Peterson in a professional expression session.

Kilian Garland, pictured, paddled out with Demi Boelsterli and Peterson in a professional expression session.

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