Lakey Peterson grew up in California’s right-point-rich playground of Santa Barbara. She learned to surf at the age of five during a year-long trip around the world with her family, but when she got back to California the unapologetic tomboy was was too busy terrorizing soccer fields and tennis courts to bother much with the beach. Showing the same competitive drive that made her mother a national champion swimmer, Lakey was dominating the boys her age on the playground, as her fellow CT counterpart Conner Coffin (an old schoolmate) can attest. But by age 12 she grew tired of driving for hours to tennis tournaments, and being she’d already racked up a national surfing title going full throttle down the surfing path seemed much more alluring. At 14, she was the first woman to pull an aerial maneuver in competition. At 16, surfing as a wildcard in her first-ever Champoinship Tour event, she finished runner up at the US Open of Surfing. She qualified that same year, and came back to win the US Open in 2012 on her way to claiming rookie of the year. A future World Title run seemed all but certain in the eyes of pundits and fans, but she’s been winless in her five seasons since 2012, finishing consistently just below a revolving list of World Title contenders. During her last three seasons of fulltime competing (she sat out much of 2016 with a broken ankle and finished No. 16) she’s finished in the No. 6 spot. Nevertheless, Lakey’s fast-driving style and whip turns make her especially vicious in down the line pointbreaks like the ones she spent her formative years in. That explains her solid results at Snapper Rocks and Trestles, and you can bet she’s thrilled with the addition of Jeffreys Bay to this year’s schedule. A healthy Lakey could be on the threshold of a breakthrough in 2018.