Lakey’s big week ends with runner-up finish in Women’s Pro final

Lakey Peterson completed one the best competitive surfing weeks of her young life by finishing as the runner-up in the Women’s Pro Division at the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing on Sunday at the Huntington Beach Pier.

Peterson, the 16-year-0ld surfing sensation from Santa Barbara, came up short against Australian and No. 2 world-ranked Sally Fitzgibbons in the final. Fitzgibbons, posting her best scores on her second (7.50) and third (6.73) waves, totaled 14.23 to best Peterson, who finished with a final score of 12.40.

“Today was just about connecting the dots and stepping it up,” Fitzgibbons said. “I think the future is bright for our sport. Lakey (Peterson) is only 16 and she was in both finals in this event it was a great week for her, but to get the win was an amazing way to cap off the year.”

Peterson, who defeated No. 1-ranked and ASP Women’s World Title Series champion Carissa Moore of Hawaii in the semifinals, had best scores of 6.13 on her third wave and 6.27 on her fourth in the final.

It was an amazing week for Peterson at the U.S. Open. She started it by upsetting Moore in a first-round heat of the Women’s Pro and beat tour veteran Melanie Bartels of Hawaii and ASP rookies Tyler Wright of Australia and Courtney Conlogue of Santa Ana.

She defeated Australia’s Laura Enever in Saturday’s quarterfinals and then won the Junior Women’s Pro title with an impressive score of 16.07 out of 20.

“I’m stoked with the way this week has turned out,” Peterson said. “It was an honor to surf against Sally (Fitzgibbons) and I’m really happy to make the Final in my first World Tour event.”

In the Women’s Pro semifinals on Sunday, Peterson scored 14.67 on her best two waves to Moore’s 14.60 to follow up on her juniors championship.

She said winning the junior title took the pressure off her on Sunday.

“Winning yesterday was what I wanted to do, to win in the Juniors and do well in this event,” Peterson said. “My heat against Carissa (Moore) felt like no pressure and I just wanted to go for it and I’m just so excited to win that heat. I’ve always wanted to surf against Carissa. She really pushes my surfing to the next level and is an amazing friend.”