Lakey Peterson took her first event win in Margaret River, despite being a stop on Tour that she's nervous about, and John Florence took the win here for the second time in his career -- increasing his lead on the Jeep Leaderboard.
"This event has been a hard one for me to overcome," said Peterson, who climbed back into World Title contention with the victory over Tatiana Weston-Webb in the Final.
"After beating Stephanie [Gilmore] and Carissa [Moore] and making it through the Quarterfinals, I found some extra momentum and fire and had definitely figured it out at Main Break. Tatiana [Weston-Webb] was surfing so well so a big congratulations to her."
Weston-Webb scored her first "keeper" result of the 2019 season and had been a big threat all week. Unfortunately she was left a wave short in the Final after falling on a few key waves, but leaves Western Australia as the World No. 9 and full of fresh confidence.
"I was making things too complicated in my mind for the first three events and this event I just took it easy to take the pressure off," Weston-Wbb remarked. "It was great to come back to Western Australia - - it's naturally beautiful and has great waves. I'm really happy still and want to keep building momentum heading into Brazil."
Peterson has had a checkered history with the Margaret River Pro, only making the Quarterfinals once in her five previous attempts. "Lakey was really scared of the sharks and the power of the waves when she first started coming to West Oz," said her coach Mike Parsons. "But I told her that her surfing suits this place. I told her she would win this event one day and she thought I was crazy."
John Florence on the other hand, has built an affinity with the waves and the people of Margaret River that goes back years. It was thought his winning performance here in 2017 set a new benchmark for performance surfing at Main Break, although this victory may have raised the bar.
"I'm super stoked to win in Margaret River again," said Florence, who increased his lead on the Jeep Leaderboard with his second CT victory of the year. "Brother [Kolohe Andino] was pushing me super hard in that heat, so I knew I had to pick the perfect wave. That was our second Final out here and both times I was just waiting for him to post such a high score."
That winning score never came from Andino as Florence unleashed his trademark power carves to post a heat total of 18.50 (9.00 + 9.50) to dominate the Final. Andino fought hard, logging two scores in the high sevens, but admitted to being beaten by the better surfer on the day.
"We all saw how John was demolishing Main Break this week and how he won at Bells when it got really big and windy, so he is definitely the guy to beat when the conditions get like this," said Andino. "There is no one I'd rather lose to than John. It's funny because I guess John is sitting in No. 1 spot and I'm in No. 2 and we are heading to Brazil and staying together, so that will be really fun."
Notable and Quotable From Day 5 Of The Margaret River Pro
-Julian Wilson lost in his Semifinal to Kolohe Andino in a low scoring affair, but the result lifted his Jeep Leaderboard ranking six places up to World No.13 and kickstarted a year that had been drifting. "I wanted to go all the way and it's disappointing to not have many opportunities," said Wilson. "But this has been a great week and I feel I'm getting to where I need to be. The hunger is there. I'll keep fighting to the end."
-Lakey Peterson's victory means the Jeep Leaderboard is stacked with at least six surfers in World Title contention. There is now less than 3000 ranking points between the Jeep Leader Steph Gilmore and World No. 6 Lakey Peterson.