Honolulu, Hawaii (Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2004) – With the women’s world title waiting in the wings, the opening rounds of the Roxy Pro, a $62,500 Association of Surfing Professionals (A.S.P.) World Championship Tour (W.C.T.) event, were held at Haleiwa today, in head-high waves. The pressure on the shoulders of ratings leader Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) and world No.2 Rochelle Ballard (Hawaii) was almost visible.
Mulanovich, 21, is in the driver’s seat, holding down a 480 point lead over Ballard, 33. As the defending champion of the Roxy Pro, Mulanovich has proven she has what it takes to win under pressure and she will have her eye on the final again this week if she is to clinch the world crown here. A win would be a sure world crown for the young Peruvian, but that’s exactly what Ballard needs if she is to stay alive heading into the last event of the year in Maui next month.
Both surfers are through to the quarter finals after their early performances today. Ballard advanced with a win and one of the top scores – 12.5 out of 20, and Mulanovich advanced in second place from round one with a score of 11.4. The top two placed surfers from round one advanced to the quarter finals, along with the top two scorers from two repecharge heats.
“It’s been a build up,” said Ballard of the wait for the Roxy Pro start. “Then I was actually losing about 10 minutes before the end. But I’ve been excited and I’m using the energy, not to be nervous.
“I don’t think (the world title) is a long shot at all. I think it’s very achievable. I have a lot of experience to draw upon and I think (Sofia and I) are inspiring each other this year. The last two contests have been a little nerve-wracking, but it’s all good.”
A trials event featuring four international up-and-coming surfers was held prior to the main event to determine one wildcard entry. Hawaii’s pre-teen surfing sensation Carissa Moore (Honolulu) was one of the four and missed out on the wildcard by less than a point, placing second behind French champion Caroline Sarran. While Moore’s moves were some of the biggest and cleanly executed of the trials, wave selection made the difference – Sarran finding more open face to work with, allowing a higher number of maneuvers for an ultimately higher score. Sarran posted 12.6 on her best two waves, Moore scored 11.73. New Zealand’s Lisa Hurunui was third on 10.56, and Rosie Hodge (South Africa) was fourth with 7.26 points. Sarran was later eliminated in the main event.
“I’m only 12, so I’ve got more years to keep trying,” said Moore, who seemed disappointed with the result but completely unfazed by her far more experienced opposition. Carissa made it to the quarter finals here last year and was hoping to go at least as far. “It wasn’t that different to other contests, the girls were just bigger,” Moore concluded.
Brazil’s Jaqueline Silva, mathematically still a world title contender, continued with a quiet pursuit today, casually posting the highest score of the Roxy Pro so far – 15.84 points. Silva, a former Roxy Pro champion, needs a first and a second from the remaining two events of the year to win the world title. She is definitely capable of those results. Others with a mathematical chance of winning the world title, each requiring two wins from these last two events of the year, are defending world champion Layne Beachley (Australia), Laurina McGrath (Australia), Chelsea Georgeson (Australia), and Tita Tavares (Brazil).
Round one of the $125,000 men’s Vans Hawaiian Pro, an A.S.P. World Qualifying Series (W.Q.S.) event, was completed this-morning, along with the first eight of 16 round two heats. Among the top performers today were Danilo Costa (Brazil), Nathan Carroll (Hawaii), Norimasa Ohno (Japan), Dustin Cuizon (Hawaii), and Sunny Garcia (Hawaii). These surfers, and others, have advanced to the third round of competition. Former world champion Tom Curren (California) also advanced to round three in second place, behind Southh African David Weare.
Satellite feeds from both events will be made available. Details will be circulated as the event continues.
The Vans Triple Crown of Surfing is made possible through the support of a partnership of the world’s leading brands and media companies including: Ford Trucks, G-Shock, O’Neill, Rip Curl, Surfing Magazine, Surfline.com, Roxy.com, Oahu’s Turtle Bay Resort, The Honolulu Advertiser and Fox Sports Net.
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