Gilmore bounces Peterson in U.S. Open quarters

Lakey Peterson

Santa Barbara’s Lakey Peterson reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals this week in Huntington Beach. (ASP Photo)

 

Former U.S. Open of Surfing champion Lakey Peterson fell out of contention for another title on Saturday, reaching the quarterfinals before getting knocked out by five-time world champion Stephanie Gilmore in Huntington Beach.

Stephanie Gilmore knocked out Lakey Peterson in Saturday's quarterfinals. (Morris/ASP Photo)

Stephanie Gilmore knocked out Lakey Peterson in Saturday’s quarterfinals. (Morris/ASP Photo)

The quarterfinal heat saw Gilmore top Peterson 11.70 to 10.03 in tiny beach-break surf that didn’t give either athlete much room to maneuver.

Peterson, a Santa Barbara resident, has a strong track record at the U.S. Open of Surfing. The 19-year-old won the title in 2012, was a finalist in 2011, and a semifinalist in 2010.

The women’s semifinals and final are Sunday. Gilmore is matched up with Sally Fitzgibbons on one semifinal.

“It was hard work and I’m sure that was a tough loss for Lakey,” Gilmore said. “Sally (Fitzgibbons) and I are great rivals having come through the Junior ranks together. We’re great competitors but also great friends.”

The next contest for Peterson and the ASP Women’s World Tour is also in California, scheduled for September 9-20 at Trestles.

Peterson, No. 7 in the WCT standings, had defeated Australian Dimity Stoyle in the Round of 16.

“In that heat I was trying to be selective and get back into my rhythm,” Peterson said afterwards. “It’s such a young group of people on the Women’s Tour and it’s really cool. Everyone is really pushing the sport right now and it’s great to be a part of that. Steph (Gilmore) is one of my favorite surfers so I’m really looking forward to my Quarterfinal against her.”

Earlier in the week with better waves, Peterson started out with a Round-1 victory over Bianca Buitendag (ZAF), 20, and Nikki Van Dijk (AUS), 19.

“Steph (Gilmore) was watching it for a long time before my heat and she’s really good at knowing where to sit,” Peterson said. “I was looking at the lefts, that’s the spot, the lefts into the pier. I’m glad I got a couple and it feels good to be home. This is the event that is awesome for Californians. The crowd is amazing, the fans are amazing and I’ve always done well here. I won here in 2012 and haven’t won since. It’d be nice to get back up on the podium.”

Peterson surfing in Round 1 on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier. (ASP Photo)

Peterson surfing in Round 1 on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier. (ASP Photo)

 

Saturday’s quarterfinal heat was the second-straight heat against Peterson for Gilmore. On Wednesday Gilmore advanced in the third round over Peterson and Paige Hareb.

“There was a lot of action at the start of the heat,” said Gilmore. “Lakey (Peterson), myself and Paige (Hareb) all got quite a lot of waves and I knew I needed to get busy early because it could go quiet. I pieced things together well in that heat. I’ve been coming here since I was 13 and won it once in 2007 when it was a QS. It’s a wild event, there’s so much going on and it’s very colorful. It’s a lot of fun, a great experience and I’ve always had a good time here. I hope I can get a win in again.”

Gilmore will get her shot on Sunday. The women’s semifinals begin at 10 a.m., and the final is scheduled for 12:20 p.m.

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