At first glance, Montecito native Lakey Peterson may seem like just an average, laid-back, beach-loving local teenager.
But a closer look reveals that Peterson is anything but average.
At 18 years of age, she has established herself as one of the world’s top female professional surfers, having claimed the 2012 U.S. Open of Surfing championship, and winning every event in the North American Junior Pro series in 2011.
Today, Peterson is finishing up a film project — Zero to 100 — that documents her rapid rise to surfing stardom.
For Peterson, becoming a top-flight surfer may have been inevitable.
She grew up steps away from Hammonds Beach, which boasts perfect right-hand point breaks, so it seems only natural that at a young age she embraced the surfing lifestyle.
Born to parents David and Sue Peterson, Lakey’s beginning was not typical. Sue Peterson was 8 months pregnant with Lakey when she participated in a triathlon and won the swimming portion of the race.
Sue later gave birth to Lakey in a hospital elevator, perhaps an omen that her daughter would one day ascend to great heights.
Peterson began surfing competitively much later than other professional surfers — at age 12 — but today is ranked seventh in the world of women’s surfing.
“I had Chris Mauro, Stephanie Gilmore and Coco Ho’s posters on my wall, and all of a sudden I was in heats with them,” said Peterson about her quick progression into the pro circuit and coming face-to-face with her idols.
That’s part of the story chronicled in Zero to 100, the independent film she has been working on with filmmaker Aaron Lieber.
Peterson hopes to raise $25,000 for her movie using a funding platform called Kickstarter. Zero to 100 has been selected for the 28th Annual Santa Barbara International Film Festival, further driving Peterson to pursue her goal for funding.
The funds from this campaign will be used towards post-production costs including, but not limited to; music licensing, editing and marketing.
Click here to make online donations to the project.
“The purpose behind the movie is to show people that you can do what you want in this life. If you have a goal, you can achieve it,” Peterson said. “It might take awhile; there will be lot of hard work and there is going to be blood, sweat and tears, but you can make it happen.”
“People are going to see a lot of me that they have never seen before,” Peterson said.
Sporting a Hollywood smile and long blonde hair bleached by the sun, Peterson’s looks are enviable. But her success transcends her beauty; she has brains and a heart of gold to match.
Peterson is a deeply committed philanthropist connected to several non-profits.
She has raised money for Hands 4 Others and has worked directly with the implementation of clean-water systems in Third World countries.
Peterson is an active member of the advisory board for Ocean Lovers Collective, and a spokeswoman for the Student Conservation Association, which is the largest volunteer organization for students in high school and college, to help keep our national parks and trails pristine.
Peterson also co-founded the Clean Water Tour — an integrated music and film festival that also curates an online membership community, “The Watering Hole”, connecting people, brands, and causes around the globe with shared interests in clean water causes and issues.
“I try to take advantage of young girls watching me, and set a really good example and do the best I can. I think some people have the same opportunity to maximize on that but they don’t,” Peterson said about her influence on a young audience.
This year, Peterson plans to chase the endless summer to Australia for the ASP World Tour that will start March 2, taking her back to the country where she rode her first wave at age 5.