Lakey Peterson scored her first World Surf League Women’s Championship Tour win of the season, but her success at the Margaret River Pro in Western Australia started before she surfed her way into the final on Tuesday morning local time.
The Santa Barbara, California, native scored the highest heat total of the Championship Tour season thus far in the quarterfinal round with a score of 18.83 to knock off Australia’s Stephanie Gilmore, the seven-time world champion who was fresh off a victory at the Corona Bali Protected in Indonesia.
On Tuesday, Peterson then narrowly edged two-time world champ Carissa Moore of Hawaii in the semifinal, 15.97 to 15.80. With waves in the four- to six-foot range, Peterson had a top wave score of 8.10. Moore’s best score was 8.20, but it was the second-best wave score that made the difference in the close competition.
That set up the final against Brazil’s Tatiana Weston-Webb. Peterson held a narrow lead up until her performance on her seventh wave scored a 6.93, the highest score of the final, to take a two-wave total score of 13.33. Weston-Webb then needed a 6.94 to get ahead of Peterson as the clock ticked down under two minutes. She chose her wave and surfed it well but it wasn’t enough, scoring a 4.00.
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Peterson, last year’s season runner-up, had two wins last year and three total under her belt coming into the Margaret River Pro; her previous best result at Margaret River was fifth. The women’s Championship Tour has now had four events with four different winners, and three of them have been from the U.S. In addition to Peterson, Caroline Marks won the season opener at the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast and Courtney Conlogue won the Rip Curl Pro Bells Beach.
The Women’s Championship Tour continues with the Oi Rio Pro later this month in Brazil. Surfing debuts in the Olympic Games in 2020 in Tokyo.
Eight women – up to two per country – will qualify from the Women’s Championship Tour standings to the Tokyo Games. Peterson moved up two spots to sixth in the 2019 rankings, but Marks, Moore and Conlogue still sit above her.
Karen Price is a reporter from Pittsburgh who has covered Olympic sports for various publications. She is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.