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Surfer Lakey Peterson Talks Hardcore Leg Workouts, Half-Marathon Advice and Sporty Swimsuits

Peterson knows how to catch waves in style. (Photo by Willie Kessel for Hurley)

Imagine waking up at the crack of dawn every day to paddle out into the ocean to catch waves and watch the sun rise. A dream, right? For one of the world's leading female surfers, Lakey Peterson, this dream is a reality. The blonde bombshell has taken over the surf world, proving at a young age that she can hang with the big leagues. She's known for her sick aerial moves and is the first female to ever perform an aerial maneuver in competition. At 19, she's a true force to be reckoned with, and we talked with her about living the surf life, her favorite bikini, and rubbing elbows with marathoner Joan Benoit.

It seems like surfing requires you to have crazy strong legs. What are your favorite exercises to keep your legs beach ready?

Surfing is quite the leg burner! When I am training in the gym I do a lot of front and back squats, side lunges, box jumps and lots of explosive, quick sprints. Those are a few of my primary legs workouts to stay fit and looking good![Editor's note: For fit legs like Lakey, check out this Nike Training Club (NTC) workout.]

Those exercises must have been helpful when you were training for the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, back in October. Since it was your first half-marathon, what would you say was your biggest challenge?

That was such an amazing race and I felt so honored to have been a part of it! My biggest challenge was staying on a strict training schedule. When I was training for it, I was literally right in the middle of my surf season so it was hard to balance surfing, gym training, and then the half-marathon training. But I did it and had so much fun! It pushed me to do something that I wasn't sure I could do, but I got to prove myself wrong. I loved seeing all of the other women cross that finish line and achieve such a huge goal.

Any advice for first time half-marathoners? 

A marathon is a big commitment for anyone. There will probably be times when you are training, or even when you are racing, that will make you want to quit. However, I can promise you that you can do it, and when you cross the finish line there is no better feeling. Make sure to enjoy it and be proud of yourself! 

After running San Fran's hills you probably feel like you can master any race. Think you'll do another?

My sister and I have talked about doing one together. I think I probably will at some point. Ask  [marathoner] Joan Benoit, she seems to think she is going to be able to turn me into a full time runner by the end of this year! I think I will stick to surfing for now though, ha!

Well if you ever want to trade places we'd be happy to swap our running life for your surf life. Only thing: we have a tough time keeping up with the lingo. It's a whole other language! 

Yes, surfers have quite the vocabulary going! My three favorite words are:

  • Chip: a pretty fun, little wave. In a sentence it would be, "Yeah there are a few fun chips out there."  I half think its funny, half actually say it sometimes.
  • Grom: a grom is a young surfer (boy or girl) who surfs all day and is always excited to surf anything and everything. We were and still probably are groms at some point in our lives.
  • Gnarly: How can you not love it!

Okay so we've got the vocabulary, now we need to look the part. What are you riding waves in?

I am so lucky to be sponsored by a company like Hurley who provides me with so much amazing gear. My favorite bathing suit is the Block Party Triangle Top and Block Party Tie Side Bottoms. Cute and functional!

If you had to pick the perfect time of day to surf, when would that be?

I really love to surf super early in the morning. The best is when I paddle out just when you can start to see and I get to watch the sunrise. I think I love that time so much because it feels the most peaceful, the world isn't awake quite yet, and it really is just you and the ocean. Not too crowded or a million guys trying to get your waves. I really get to enjoy the moment and not worry about anything else.

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