“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."