World number eight Lakey Peterson won't be surfing any more of the Australian leg of the Championship Tour, in a decision which could have serious implications for the lineup of the inaugural Rip Curl WSL Finals event.
Peterson, a perennial World Title contender, has sustained a lower back injury and based on medical advice will be withdrawing from the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic presented by Corona, the Boost Mobile Margaret River Pro presented by Corona and the Rip Curl Rottnest Search presented by Corona.
Peterson was surfing well in Newcastle and came away with a 9th. It's unclear when she sustained the injury, but she said she was shifting her focus to recovery in preparation for the second half of the 2021 season.
The Californian is a fierce competitor who finished at number three in the world in 2019 and was in contention for a Title all the way down to the final event of the year, the lululemon Maui Pro at Honolua Bay.
After spending an extended offseason preparing to do even better she'll be hoping to make the most of the newly-announced second-half to book at Final 5 spot ahead of the Rip Curl WSL Finals, which will pit these surfers against each other in a single day of competition to decide the World Title.
Her withdrawal from the Rip Curl Narrabeen Classic presented by Corona allowed Amuro Tsuzuki to make her Championship Tour debut, as the first Japanese woman to surf at that level in over two decades.