Lakey Peterson and Italo Ferreira have won the the Corona Bali Protected presented by Hurley, stop No. 5 on the World Surf League (WSL) Championship Tour (CT). The final day saw incredible performances in clean waves at Keramas on Bali's east coast, allowing the world's best surfers to put on a show at one of the most high-performance waves on the planet.
Peterson's emphatic win sees her reclaim the Jeep Leader Jersey, continuing her red-hot form in 2018. The Californian had only two final appearances last season and settled for second on both occasions. After only four completed events this year, Peterson secured three finals and took top honors in two. Peterson's wave selection and turn executions were on point at Keramas all week and the Final was no exception with the Santa Barbara native winning with a two-wave total of 14.33 (out of a possible 20) against two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright.
"I'm over the moon," said Peterson. "This is just so crazy. Seeing Steph win in Brasil really lit a fire in me, and I came here and knew what I had to do. I've just been keeping calm all week. This is a really long year, so it's been fun to be a part of it so far. To have a Final against Tyler was cool. She's been surfing so well and when she took off on that last wave, I was so nervous and didn't know if she'd get the score. In the end it worked out for me. That chair-up the beach was [incredible]. There are people dancing everywhere. This is crazy."
The Corona Bali Protected is the first-ever women's CT event in Bali, and it delivered all-time conditions. Peterson's historic win today solidifies her status as one of the most progressive surfers on Tour and moves her a step closer to claiming the USA's first women's World Title since Lisa Andersen in 1997.
"Getting the Jeep Leader Jersey back is amazing," Peterson continued. "We are all here to have that on our back. I had it for a short second at Bells, then Steph has had it since, so it is nice to get it back from her and feel like the momentum is still with me. Everyone is surfing so well that it won't be easy to keep. I just want to play my own game and almost act like I'm coming from behind still. I just want to enjoy every moment. I'd love to thank my fiancé, my mum and my family for everything. It's been a crazy few years and it feels like this year everything is coming together."
Today Ferreira cemented himself as a bona fide World Title contender by reclaiming the Jeep Leader Jersey and taking his second win of the 2018 season. Ferreira held the two highest single-wave scores of the event and three of the event's top heat totals. The goofyfooter launched and landed massive aerials, attacked the lip with precision, and threaded backhand tubes throughout to prove himself as the worthy winner of the Corona Bali Protected.
"It's really cool to get back the Jeep Leader Jersey," Ferreira said. "There's a lot more steps I need to take to win the World Title, so I will enjoy this moment, but I want to win more. The CT is full of amazing surfers, but I am feeling confident and I want to keep the momentum and extend my lead."
"This wave is perfect; it reminds me of my home break," Ferreira continued. "I have been paddling out when it's dark every day because I love this wave and I want to get as many as I can. It was such a perfect day. Michel is a real power-surfer -- probably the best on Tour -- so I knew I needed to be at my best to win. Luckily for me, I found some good waves and was able to show my surfing."
Reigning, two-time WSL Champion Wright has had an uncharacteristically slow start to the season and had not progressed past the Quarterfinals until this week at the Corona Bali Protected. Wright's powerful brand of surfing was back to its best, threading tubes and throwing loads of spray with every turn. In the Final, she was unable to find the waves to match Peterson's excellent opening score, but she will now head to the Uluwatu CT with confidence.
"It's been a great contest, we've had great waves and the level of surfing has been really high," Wright said. "I've been watching Lakey all week and I knew she would be tough to beat. She got that 8.33 early in the Final and the waves slowed down and I couldn't catch her. I am happy with my performance this week, and I'm looking forward to going to the Uluwatu CT and doing it all over again."
Michel Bourez and Keramas were a perfect match all week with the Tahitian's tube-riding ability and powerful rail-game trumping everyone he came up against. Unfortunately for Bourez, he failed surpass his previous second-place finish at Keramas (2013). Although disappointed with coming short, he was stoked to move to 4th on the Jeep Leaderboard and will now turn his focus to the upcoming Uluwatu CT.
"It was a shame that the waves slowed down on Finals Day, but I'm still really happy," Bourez said. "It was cool to come up against Italo in the Final. He has been ripping all week. He and I have been the first ones in the water every morning and been on the same program. He is such a good guy, so I'm really stoked for him. A Final result is good but second is not enough. Winning would have really pushed me further on the rankings, but I can't go backwards so it's all good. I feel good heading to Uluwatu now. I'm really feel comfortable here in Bali. It's feels similar to my island home in Tahiti."
In his Semifinal victory over Jordy Smith, Ferreira scored the Corona Bali Protected's only Perfect 10. Ferreira took off on a reeling right-hander and drove into a deep bottom turn, where he then launched into a lofty and technical backhand full-rotation aerial. The landing was clean and smooth, followed by two powerful turns and another technical aerial on the end-section.
On his way to the Final, Bourez dispatched event wildcard Mikey Wright , who was a standout all event and continued to take down some of the biggest names in surfing. Wright's performance saw him finish a career-topping equal 3rd position. Wright now rockets to 12th on the Jeep Leaderboard, giving the 21-year-old a huge chance of qualifying for the CT in 2019 as a full-time competitor.