It’s the biggest stage in the world of competitive surfing. A weekend crowd of an estimated 600,000 packed the shores of Huntington Beach for the Nike U.S. Open of Surfing. The best in the world, including 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater, hit the waves.The U.S. Open Women’s title went to Lakey Peterson. Peterson was born and raised in Santa Barbara and with the title moved to 7th in the world rankings.”To win there is amazing because it’s the biggest surfing event in the world and one of the biggest events ever,” 17-year-old Peterson said. “It’s something that not too many people in their lifetime get to experience and I’m just so blessed to have the opportunity.”In the semifinals Peterson posted a perfect 10 on the scoreboard and credits that run with giving her the extra push to win the championship.”That was really good just for my confidence going into the finals, knowing that they were liking the way I was surfing,” she said.Santa Barbara is also home to U.S. Open Junior Pro Champion Conner Coffin. The 19-year-old was able to put the pressure of being in the finals aside and scored an 8.93 to win.”There’s people all over the pier, all over the beach, all over the stands, it’s wild,” Coffin said. “I just tried to block all that out and focus on surfing and catching waves.”Coffin and Peterson were already the next wave of great Santa Barbara surfers but now they can also call themselves U.S. Open champions.
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