Sofia Mulanovich will go down in history as the first South American to win an ASP world title. Think about that for a second. There have been Brazilians on the world tour since it started, and they’re all contest-winning machines. If little old you ever got one of them in a heat, you would get so smoked, you wouldn’t even know what to do. But until today at Haleiwa, none of them had ever won the big one.
Sofia and Rochelle Ballard had an awesome race for the title. It was obvious from the Gold Coast on that it was a two horse race (sorry about the pun girls), and they conducted it with style and grace, remaining close friends the whole time. I’m sure Rochelle is disappointed about not winning, but she had a great year, and should be satisfied with creating a really worth-following race for the prize.
Thanks ladies. Good luck at Honolua Bay in December.
Here’s the ASP’s official press release about the event:
Peru’s Mulanovich Wins Surfing World Crown
Outgoing World Champ Beachley Passes Torch with $20,000 Roxy Pro Win Prize Money Doubled Mid-Final.
Honolulu, HAWAII (Saturday, Nov. 20, 2004) – Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich, 21, made professional surfing history by becoming the first South American, man or woman, to claim the Association of Surfing Professionals (A.S.P.) World Championship Tour (W.C.T.) crown. Mulanovich needed to place third or better in the Roxy Pro to put the 2004 world title result beyond the reach of her W.C.T. rivals. Her closest rival coming into the event was Hawaii’s Rochelle Ballard, who lost in the quarter finals.
Six-time world champion Layne Beachley (Australia), 32, passed the torch to Mulanovich in a form befitting a true champion, taking first place in the Roxy Pro, in what became the richest women’s final in pro surfing history. Mid-heat, recognizing the monumental nature of the moment, Roxy Executives Randy Hild and Danny Kwock announced that they would double the prize purse of the final for first through fourth place. The result was a $20,000 pay check for Beachley, $12,000 for Mulanovich, $9,000 for third placed Chelsea Georgeson (Australia), and $7,000 for Maria Tita Tavares (Brazil) in fourth. The total purse for the event climbed from $62,500 to $86,500.
In a fusion of past, present, and future, Mulanovich celebrated the moment of her life with the blessing of Roxy Team Manager and 4-time world champion Lisa Andersen as well as outgoing champ Beachley, collectively representing a total of 11 world surfing titles.
“When I was a little kid I used to dream about this, said Mulanovich. “A couple of years ago I didn’t think I’d be able to win a world title. I wasn’t that confident. But this year helped my self-confidence.
Mulanovich has dominated the 2004 season since the get-go, reaching four of the six W.C.T. events held to date, winning three of them. One event remains following the Roxy Pro, the Billabong Pro on Maui, starting December 7.
“I’ve done this for my country and for all South Americans, continued Mulanovich. “Just to make a change and give them hope. If you really want something, you’ll get it.
“My goal was to be world champion today. In the final, my thinking was that I just had to beat one person, but half way through I started thinking I might be able to do better than that. For the future? I don’t know. I’m just stoked I’m the world champion this year.
Beachley was always the woman to beat in the 35-minute final. Ever-driven by a personal goal, Layne was determined to go out on her six-year world champion run in perfect style. She did just that, surfing brilliantly to win convincingly in tricky six-foot surf. The final scores over each surfer’s top two rides had Beachley on 13.26 points, Mulanovich on 9.34, Georgeson with 8.6 and and Tavares on zero – having failed to catch a single ride in the shifting, competitive line-up.
“It’s not bitter, it’s very, very sweet, said a satisfied Beachley. “I’m going out wiith a sense of achievement and a sense of relief. This was my first final of the year, so there’s a sense of relief and achievement to win. Of all the girls on tour, I think Sofia’s the most deserving of a world title. She’s worked hard, she’s modest and humble in what she sets out to achieve. She calls it luck, but I call it greatness. There’s a lot more responsibility and expectation on a world champion. There’s far more to it than just surfing well and she’s capable of pulling all that together. Just the fact that Sofia has taken the sport to a new nation. Women’s surfing is evolving into a sport that is creating heroes.
Beachley’s win also gives her the lead on the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing series ratings. There is an additional $10,000 winner-takes-all purse for the woman who performs the best over the two Hawaiian events. Sofia sits at second on the Vans Triple Crown ratings.
The remainder of the men’s Vans Hawaiian Pro round two heats were also completed, with the final two heats enjoying the biggest waves of the day of up to 10 feet. This day proved what a truly international event the Vans Triple Crown of Surfing has become, with three Brazilians, one Spanish, one English, one Australian, one Hawaiian, and one Mainland American winning heats. Furthermore, there were surfers from the Canary Islands, France and Portugal also progressing to round three.
Round three will pick up the action tomorrow, with the top three ranked men in the world making their debut Triple Crown appearance, world champion Andy Irons (Hawaii), Joel Parkinson (Australia) and Kelly Slater (Florida) will all surf tomorrow morning.
A satellite feed from the Roxy Pro will go out this morning (Sunday, USA). Details and coordinates will be circulated as soon as they become available.
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.
Roxy ProFinal1st=$20,000; 2nd=$12,000; 3rd=$9,000; 4th=$7,000
(Listed in order 1st to 4th)
Layne Beachley (AUS); Sofia Mulanovich (PER); Chelsea Georgeson (AUS); Tita Tavares (BRA)
Women’s ASP WCT Ratings after the Roxy Pro (one event remains before the season end):
1. Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) 5484
2. Rochelle Ballard (Haw) 4392
3. Layne Beachley (Aus) 4176
4. Chelsea Georgeson (Aus) 3924
5. Maria Tita Tavares (Brz) 3846
6. Jacqueline Silva (Brz) 3738
7. Laurina McGrath (Aus) 3336
8. Keala Kennelly (Haw) 3318
9. Megan Abubo (Haw) 2898
10. Trudy Todd (Aus) 2544
11. Melanie Redman-Carr (Aus) 2376
12. Pauline Menczer (Aus) 2376
13. Samantha Cornish (Aus) 2352
14. Melanie Bartels (Haw) 2238
15. Heather Clark (SAfr) 2172
16. Lynnette MacKenzie (Aus) 1620
17. Prue Jeffries (Aus) 1440