Lakey Peterson and Gabriel Medina won the World Surf League Freshwater Pro presented by Outerknown today. Peterson and Medina bested their respective fields at the famous Kelly Slaters Surf Ranch in Lemoore.
Peterson’s and Medina’s wins put the 2019 World Title race in full swing with Peterson vaulting up to No. 2 on the World Rankings and Medina climbing to World No. 1. The 2019 CT will not only decide the prestigious World Title but will also determine who from the world’s elite will qualify to represent their country at surfing’s Olympic debut in Tokyo next year.
Lakey Peterson captures Second CT Win, moves to No.2 on World Rankings
“I just can’t believe it, I feel like God was just with me on that one and I gave it everything I had,” Peterson said. “It all just came together today and it’s super special. I want to dedicate this win to everyone who was a part of the climate strike after watching everything on TV yesterday and how much our Earth needs our help right now.”
A heated Final came alive between the remaining Top 4 women and event standout Johanne Defay (FRA) shined bright right away with another near-perfect score of a 9.00 (out of a possible 10) on the righthander. In the end, it came down to Peterson and Defay as the last two women standing and fireworks ensued on the bonus waves to determine the 2019 winner. The Santa Barbara, California native brought her clutch form from overtaking Courtney Conlogue (USA) to earn her spot into the Final and did so once more with an incredible air-reverse, earning a 9.33 when needing an excellent score, on her final attempt to capture the win.
“That one was just so clutch,” continued Peterson. “The year’s been so up and down with so many different emotions. Obviously, for the World Title, this was huge to win it and with Caroline (Marks) and Carissa (Moore) right there for the Olympics, there’s a lot going on. I’m just so thankful.”
Defay’s runner-up finish marks her best result of the season. Defay moved up one spot to No. 9 on the Jeep Leaderboard and is in a great position to represent France at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. The Frenchwoman’s composure throughout the event was unbreakable, even heading into the Final alongside Peterson, over eventual fourth-place finisher Caroline Marks (USA) and three-time WSL Champion Carissa Moore (HAW), who exited in third place.
“I knew Lakey (Peterson) would put on such a show and she deserved it,” said Defay. Her surfing above the lip was crazy and I’m happy for second place. This is going to be good for my confidence heading to France and this year I’ve felt like things haven’t gone my way with opportunities, which put me down in the rankings. It’s going to be difficult, but it will definitely be good so hopefully, I can stay in this mood. Surfing is going in such an incredible direction and I’m happy where I’m at.”
Gabriel Medina Defends Surf Ranch Victory and Takes Over as World No. 1
Gabriel Medina’s comeback is in full swing with his second win at the Surf Ranch. The Brasilian’s opening runs in the Final eventually secured his second win in three events this season and sent him from World No. 4 to No. 1 to begin a surge toward a third World Title. Medina’s aerial assaults on the lefthander proved insurmountable once again after earning a near-perfect 9.93 to begin his Final and immediately backing it up with an 8.93 on his backhand.
“It feels amazing and it’s been a long three days for me but it’s amazing to get the win against these guys – they are the best in the world,” Medina said. “Those two first waves of the Final felt really good and it’s amazing to beat guys like Juilan (Wilson), Filipe (Toledo), Owen (Wright), and (Griffin) Colapinto, they all surf amazing. Now hopefully I can keep up my results to the end. I’m really happy with my performance here and these are really important points.”
Once more Filipe Toledo (BRA) earned runner-up with another brilliant performance throughout the week that included multiple, near-perfect rides including a 9.63 in the Final. But the 24-year-old sustained an injury on his second runs which plagued Toledo with pain heading into the bonus waves. With a vital homestretch ahead Toledo will prepare as best he can after taking on the world’s best in amazing fashion.
“It was really amazing and nervous moments being on the screen before that Final but it was the motivation at the same time,” Toledo said. “I did those last few waves because the crowd was just feeding me energy and I have to thank the WSL staff for doing everything they could to take the pain away. I’m so stoked for Gabriel with an incredible performance, as well as Lakey and Johanne, and also the whole leaderboard – everyone just came out swinging on the first waves which I was not expecting.”
“Now I’ll relax a little bit, my plan was to do Ericeira but now I don’t think I’ll be able to,” Toledo added about his injury. “I’ll still go and try to put the jersey to see what’s up but then head straight to France to work with doctors there. I’ll get through these three last contests and maybe get that Title.”
Source: World Surf League