Marks’ backhand attack was unstoppable on Finals Day.
Credit: © WSL / Masurel
Caroline Marks (USA), the 17-year-old surfing phenomenon, showed once again that she is a major threat to the world’s best surfers and now has a shot at a maiden World Title in only her second year on the elite Tour heading into the Hawaii Pro in Maui next month, starting November 25.
“That was incredible I’ve been dreaming of making a Final against Lakey (Peterson) and we’ve been talking about it since I started working with Mike (Parsons),” said Marks. “I just want to say thanks to her for pushing me so much, I wouldn’t be here without her. That was super fun, I’m so stoked this is the best year of my life and I can’t believe it!”
Marks claimed a second event win this season (after the Boost Mobile Pro Gold Coast) in only her second season on the Championship Tour to get even closer in the World Title race conversation. The young sophomore eclipsed seven-time WSL Champion Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) in the Quarters before eliminating Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA) in the Semis and Peterson in the Final. The Floridian came in ranked fourth on the Jeep Leaderboard and will leave Europe in third position after a runner-up in France and the win in Peniche.
“I’m just trying to live in the moment but staying in the Title Race is the goal,” she added. “I want to go all the way for sure, that’s so exciting. I’m not going to change anything, I’m just going to surf all day and have fun.”
Marks got the nod in the first half of the women’s Final, nailing a couple of good turns on her lethal backhand to build a healthy 12 point total and push Peterson against the ropes early on. The 17-year-old stayed patient in the lineup while Peterson scoured the beach for opportunities and once again Marks got the better of the next exchange to improve her lead and put Peterson in a combination situation.
Lakey Peterson (USA) has arguably been one of the strongest surfers in the back half of the 2019 Championship Tour season, posting an equal 3rd, two runner-ups and a win in the last four events to tighten up the World Title race before the last event of the season. In a remake of their Roxy Pro France Semifinal, Peterson this time eliminated the Jeep Frontrunner Carissa Moore (HAW) to make her way in the Final today. She solidifies her second spot on the Jeep Leaderboard and narrows down the Title Race to less than 3,500 points between her and Moore.
“It’s almost like I put too much into that Semifinal and ran out of fuel in the Final,” said Peterson. “There is so much on the line for everyone right now, and I was just so stoked to have a heat with Carissa again in conditions that were a bit better. I was so stoked to make the Final with Caroline, we surf a ton together and she’s pushed me a lot so I just want to say congratulations to you, Caroline, you really deserved it.”