Balancing act for Lakey Peterson

Courtesy of Lakey Peterson

Lakey Peterson, who usually spends the Fourth of July playing on the beach and eating chips and guacamole, is in Paris for the holiday.

Happy July 4, everyone! Now that we've had a chance to experience a little bit of summer together, I hope y'all are bronzed and enjoying every minute of it like I am. This is one of my favorite holidays. I love having big BBQs at the beach with family and friends, which bring a ton of smiles and laughs.

I definitely have my Fourth of July traditions. I normally go to my friend's beach house, where we play all day long. That means stand-up paddleboarding, beach volleyball, paddle tennis, and of course, chips and guacamole as a snack. I think its one of my favorite holidays because it's a day for everyone to be together and have fun.

This year, I'm in Paris for the Fourth! It would be a huge understatement to say I'm excited. I have a contest in Biarritz, and my parents and I thought it would be neat to come here a few days early and explore the city of Paris. It's definitely different than my usual Fourth of July activities, but I'm stoked to get this opportunity.

I bet some of you are wondering what it's like to be on the road all the time and compete against some of my best friends. Surfing is a rare sport in that way. Most athletes don't really get along with or get to talk much with their competitors, and not on a regular basis like I do. In surfing it's just the opposite. All of us girls on tour are great friends. We go to breakfast and dinner together, and we free surf together. We get along really well, which make our trips more fun. However, we have to find the right balance between our friendship and competition. When we're not competing, its all smiles, but once the buzzer announces the start of a heat, the smiles disappear, and we have to put on our game faces!

There's been a learning curve for me to surf with my friends on tour and also realize surfing is what I do for a living -- it's my job. I can't let anything get in the way of that. In other words, I can't let someone else take the best wave because she's my friend. I have to go for it each and every time I'm out there. By nature, I'm extremely competitive in everything I do. When it comes to surfing, I'm even more competitive! But I've also learned that once the competition is over, it's important to be a good sport and have class about everything.

Sometimes it's a big bummer to come up against one of my close friends. I don't want to be the one stopping a friend from reaching her goal, and she doesn't want to get in the way of mine, either. I guess at the end of the day, its all part of what we do, and we understand that. I wish for great results for close friends almost as much as I wish for it myself. I'm so blessed to have such super friends on tour who understand what I'm going through. We all want to win, and there's never really any question about that, so it doesn't become an issue.

You may not know that I have many other hobbies aside from surfing. I'm into all sports. When I was younger, I was a huge tennis player -- I still am. The same is true of skateboarding. I was a skater before I was a surfer, and I think that's part of the reason why I picked up surfing so quickly. I think skating creates some amazingly good habits for surfing, but it can also lead to some bad ones, so you have to be careful. I just love staying active, and anything with a board really seems to play to my strengths.

Keep having an amazing summer and living it up with me -- YOLO (if you don't know what it means, just ask me on Twitter @LakeyPeterson)!

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