Lakey Peterson returns to Huntington to defend U.S. Open title

Lakey Peterson - U.S. Open of Surfing

Lakey celebrates her U.S. Open victory in Huntington Beach last year. (Lalande/ASP Photo)

The signature moment in Lakey Peterson’s surfing career came at last year’s U.S. Open of Surfing when the then 17-year-old triumphed in the main event in Huntington Beach. To this day it’s still the biggest victory of her young career. Peterson returns to Huntington Beach this week to defend her title against the best female surfers in the world.

Presidio Sports asked Lakey about her breakthrough victory at the U.S. Open and what it means for this year. Peterson comes into the Huntington contest in sixth place in the world tour standings after five of eight events. Her best result so far during her sophomore season was a 3rd-place finish at the?Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach.

The Santa Barbara native begins U.S. Open competition on Tuesday at 1 p.m. in an opening-round heat with Coco Ho and?Pauline Ado. Check Results HERE

PRESIDIO: Now that it is a year in the past, what do you remember most about?the final heat and getting carried up the beach as a U.S. Open champion??Can you describe that feeling?

LAKEY PETERSON: I honestly can’t believe it’s already been a year! Looking back on last year to that moment when I won and was getting chaired up the beach is truly indescribable! I guess the best way to put it is that it’s just as amazing as it looks!

PRESIDIO:?Do you think it will feel any different this year competing as the?defending champion?

LP:?Yeah I feel like because I have done so well here in the past people expect me to do well. I expect myself to do well also. I guess it’s a bit more pressure but I just try not to think about it.

PRESIDIO: How has that victory changed your life in the past year?

LP: It has been different since I won last year for sure. I think for me personally it was just a turning point where I realized that I can do this, I can win events. That being said, my mind set has been different this year because I guess I feel more pressure to perform and do well.

PRESIDIO: What is it about the U.S. Open of Surfing that seems to bring the?best out in your surfing?

LP: I think for me the US Open is our biggest event, meaning the most amount of people and overall an event that everyone want to win. So for me I love that, I love having the chance to truly perform for thousand and thousands of people, I love the pressure and the challenge.

PRESIDIO: How do you balance the competition aspect of the event with?responsibilities to your fans, media and sponsors?

LP: I think you just have to know when to say when. I love meeting the fans and doing signings and I love doing things for the media but at the end of the day my job is surfing and I can’t let anything get in the way of that.

PRESIDIO:?How has your tour experience changed from your rookie year to this year?

LP: It’s changed because in a way I know what to expect. I have been to every place on tour at this point so I know the waves, and I know the towns, etc. So, this year I felt like a could prepare a bit better because I knew what to expect.

PRESIDIO:?Out of the water, what sort of projects are you involved with at the moment?

LP: Right now I am working with a few different organizations. A big one that I am apart of is The SCA or The Student Conservation Association. They help keep national parks and forests clean and healthy so we can all continue to enjoy our breathtaking environment.

Professional surfer Lakey Peterson

Lakey Peterson’s view as she is carried up the beach following her victory at the 2012 U.S. Open of Surfing