Billabong Girls Pro Rio Prepares for Imminent ASP Top 17 Assault

Billabong Girls Pro Rio

Stop No. 4 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour

Barra de Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

September 10 – 18, 2008

Silvana Lima (BRA), 23, current No. 6 on the 2008 ASP Women’s World Tour, will do battle against in front of her hometown crowd when Billabong Girls Pro Rio action commences. Photo courtesy ASP Cestari/Covered Images

RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Sunday, September 7, 2008) – The waiting period for the 2008 Billabong Girls Pro Rio is just days from commencing and the world's best female surfers are descending upon the idyllic beaches of Barra de Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro for stop No. 4 of 8 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour.

With both the race for the 2008 ASP Women's World Title as well as the hunt for Dream Tour requalification well underway, the Billabong Girls Pro Rio is certain to play a pivotal role this season and the ASP Top 17 are coming in guns blazing.

Sofia Mulanovich (PER), 25, former ASP Women's World Champion and current No. 2 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, stumbled at the last event in Europe, finishing a disappointing equal 9th, but the fleet-footer Peruvian is looking forward to rebounding at the Billabong Girls Pro Rio.

"France was not a good contest result for me but I am still really pumped for Rio," Mulanovich said. "I am just going to go and surf and have fun and see how it goes – no pressure."

Like the majority of girls on tour, Mulanovich's experience in Rio is limited, but the young natural-footer will be sure to stay adept as she enters into the fray alongside fellow frontrunners.

"I surfed in Rio once when I was a kid," Mulanovich said. "I surfed the Pan-American contest and I did well. It was really long ago though. Steph (Gilmore) and Silvana (Lima) and all the girls pose potential threats out there."

Mulanovich will face Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), 21, and Serena Brooke (AUS), 32, in the opening round of the Billabong Girls Pro Rio.

Rebecca Woods (AUS), 23, current No. 8 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, traveled to Brazil a few days early to prepare for the upcoming event in hopes of improving her current spot on the ratings with a breakout result at the Billabong Girls Pro Rio.

"Basically being comfortable in any place is important to me so I'm getting to Rio early and getting in tune with the waves," Woods said. "Boards, eating well, training a bit and getting ready for my birthday which is on the 14th are all things I'll be gearing up for in Brazil."

While there are several surfers more than capable of a victory in Brazil, Woods notes that local experience could play a significant advantage in Rio.

"Silvana Lima is always one to watch here," Woods said. "She seems to gain confidence when she is at home."

Woods battles Amee Donohoe (AUS), 27, and Julia De La Rosa Toro (PER), 26, in Round 1.

Silvana Lima (BRA), 23, current No. 6 on the 2008 ASP Women's World Tour, is the only true Rio de Janeiro local on tour, with fellow ASP Top 17 Brazilian Jacqueline Silva, 29, hailing from Florianopolis, and the explosive natural-footer will have the support of her hometown crowd.

"I'm very excited to be competing at home in front of my friends and family," Silva said. "I had a tough start to the year but I have a lot of confidence now and I am very much looking forward to surfing at home."

Lima will square off against Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), 22, and Nicola Atherton (AUS), 22, when Billabong Girls Pro Rio action commences.

The 18th seed will go to the winner of this week's ASP World Qualifying Series (WQS) 4-Star event in Rio de Janeiro.

The waiting period for the 2008 Billabong Girls Pro Rio runs from September 10 – 18, 2008.

The Billabong Girls Pro Rio will be webcast LIVE via

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Billabong Girls Pro Rio Round 1 Match-Ups:

Heat 1: Amee Donohoe (AUS), Rebecca Woods (AUS), Julia De La Rosa Toro (PER)

Heat 2: Samantha Cornish (AUS), Jacqueline Silva (BRA), Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS)

Heat 3: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Melanie Bartels (HAW), TBA

Heat 4: Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Rosanne Hodge (ZAF), Serena Brooke (AUS)

Heat 5: Layne Beachley (AUS), Megan Abubo (HAW), Karina Petroni (USA)

Heat 6: Silvana Lima (BRA), Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS), Nicola Atherton (AUS)

Current ASP Women's World Tour Ratings:

1 – Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 2760 points

2 – Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 2532 points

3 – Layne Beachley (AUS) 2280 points

4 – Samantha Cornish (AUS) 2076 points

5 – Amee Donohoe (AUS) 2064 points

6 – Silvana Lima (BRA) 1476 points

7 – Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 1284 points

8 – Rebecca Woods (AUS) 1272 points

8 – Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 1272 points

10 – Megan Abubo (HAW) 1092 points

10 – Julia De La Rosa Toro (PER) 1092

12 – Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 1080 points

12 – Nicola Atherton (AUS) 1080 points

14 – Melanie Bartels (HAW) 912 points

14 – Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 912 points *

16 – Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 900

16 – Karina Petroni (USA) 900 points

16 – Serena Brooke (AUS) 900 points

* First replacement on ASP Women's World Tour.