Last season was bittersweet for Lakey Peterson. She found herself in the box seat for a maiden World Title -- which most pundits would agree she is more than capable of winning.
It came down to the very last event, at Maui, but it wasn't to be. Carissa Moore secured a fourth World Title and Lakey Peterson was left with a stinging realization of how close she had come. That's sure to make her one of the most highly-motivated athletes on Tour in 2021.
So, is it going to be Lakey's year? Considering the changes made to the World Tour format -- specifically the introduction of the Rip Curl WSL Finals at Lower Trestles -- she's going to be in as good a spot to secure that Title as anyone else.
"I'm from California and I've grown up surfing Lowers, and I've had so many junior events there ... it's obviously such a world-class wave," she recently told the WSL.
"I've wanted it to be back on Tour for a while, so the fact that it will be for the Surf Off is just icing on the cake, really."
Under the new format, the top five athlete at the end of the regular season will surf for a World Title at Trestles. This idea is to guarantee fans to high drama that went down in 2019, when Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira took the title race all the way to the finals at Pipeline.
"You've go the be really consistent all year, it's no easy task to make the Top Five at the end of the year, so I'll have to be on my A-Game going into the season and throughout the entire season," Lakey said.
It's true that finishing in the Top Five is not to be taken for granted, but Lakey has finished in the top three during the past two consecutive seasons, and is looking at strong as ever. It's safe to say, expect a big one in 2021.