WSL / Ed Sloane
THAT'S IT! Layne Beachley's record is (finally) equalled and Stephanie Gilmore can thank Alana Blanchard. Last night in France was the first day of Maui Pro competition in Honolua Bay under very solid conditions. Perhaps the worst conditions the girls have faced this season.
If Stephanie Gilmore, concentrated, secured her first heat against Alana Blanchard (wildcard) and Sage Erickson, Lakey Peterson, on the other hand, completely missed her own. By finishing third in her first round series, the American was forced to surf a second round of elimination repechage. If Lakey lost in the second round, Steph would be crowned world champion for the 7th time. Both surfers knew that.
And that's what happened... Certainly under pressure, Lakey Peterson couldn't face wildcard Alana Blanchard. Her score of 10.54 will not be enough to qualify against the former TC surfer's 13.10 points. If Lakey's chances of being world champion were low before this last stage, few people imagined however a defeat of the world number 2 in the 2nd round....
"I didn't surf to the top of my game today but I still had a great season," said Lakey Peterson. "I still have a lot to learn. Congratulations to Steph Gilmore. She is an incredible athlete from whom I try to get a lot of inspiration. It hurts to lose today but I enjoyed every minute this season. I'm not finished yet. This pain will serve me for next year.
Stephanie Gilmore was asking for nothing less. With only one first surfing tour, she is already guaranteed to finish on the roof of the world for the first time.... Seventh time!
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