The biggest annual surf contest in the United States concluded this past weekend in Huntington Beach with a couple teenagers from Montecito absolutely dominating it.
With tens of thousands of half-naked spectators crowding the beach and thousands more watching the action on computer screens around the world, 17-year-old Lakey Peterson smashed a field of the best female surfers on the planet to take home top honors in the Women’s Pro Division of the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing while 19-year-old Conner Coffin was the overwhelming winner in the Men’s Junior Pro.
With an ear to ear smile, Peterson, who finished her rookie season on the Women’s World Tour ranked number seven overall, addressed the crowd after her victory on Sunday: “I’ve loved every minute of this event. … My family is here with me and it is just all so special!”
Coffin, who grew up just a few miles away from Peterson, was the first to climb the victors podium, his decisive win coming on Saturday. A regular foot who surfs with a maturity and power beyond his years, Coffin used an impressive combo of flow and precision in the less than ideal Huntington conditions, his crisp turns and confident rail-to-rail surfing marked in contrast to the tail flicks and aerial antics of his competitors.
When all was said and done, Coffin had racked up 6 of the top 10 scoring waves in the entire contest for his division and won the thing by beating Huntington Beach local and Rincon regular Kanoa Igarshi in the finals with a score of 17.10 (comprised of his two top scoring waves on a scale of 1 to 10) to Igarshi’s 12.6. Taking to Instagram, Coffin declared his victorious Saturday, “one of the best days of my life.”
For her part, Peterson put on arguably the best performance of any surfer, man or women, junior or otherwise, in the entire week-and-a-half long event. She surfed her way to the top heat score of the whole contest for any division in her quarterfinal round with a total score of 19.76 (a 20 being the best score you could get) and followed that up with a 18.77 in the semi-finals which included a perfect 10.
Peterson dispatched Hawaii’s Carissa Moore, herself a former World Champ, in the final by a score of 10.9 to 8.64. “The final was really slow and I was pretty bummed because I wish we both could have got some really good waves,” said Peterson of the crumbly, inconsistent waist-high surf that plagued the final day of competition, before adding triumphantly, “but I’m so stoked.”