My Relative the World-Famous Surfer Girl, With a Surprise Ending

The most glamorous member of my extended family is probably Lakey Peterson, who at age 18 is one of the most famous surfers in the world. Starting at age 16 or 17, she has toured the globe, sponsored by Nike, competing on the international surfing circuit. Lakey’s mother Susan is a Hinderaker; she was an all-America swimmer at USC. So Lakey is my kids’ third cousin.

Tonight we watched an hour-long documentary about Lakey Peterson titled Zero to 100, which you can find on Netflix at the link. The documentary follows Lakey’s first year on the surfing tour, and culminates with her winning the 2012 women’s US Open. This is the trailer for Zero to 100:

Lakey with filmmaker Aaron Lieber:

And this is a commercial that she filmed for a waterproof video camera, that has some great footage of her surfing:

Lakey left high school at an early age and traveled with two tutors, both PhDs. One taught mathematics and the sciences, and the other the humanities. Apart from the Nike sponsorship, her path is made easier by the fact that–this is family lore, but I believe it to be true–her paternal grandfather invented the Egg McMuffin. One could say that Lakey Peterson is the ultimate California girl. So what’s the surprise?

Zero to 100 begins with an interview with Lakey’s mother. When she was pregnant with Lakey, doctors told her that it appeared her baby had Down syndrome. They could do more tests, they suggested, to make sure. You may want to abort. No, her mother replied. I don’t care, no more tests. I love this baby. That’s it: the topic is never mentioned again in the documentary, although Lakey’s and her family’s Christian beliefs do crop up, inconspicuously, a few times. But for me, the beginning gave the whole film a pleasantly subversive air: a glamorous life, to be sure, but one that began with an act of faith.


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