Former ASP Women’s World Champion and Peruvian icon Sofia Mulanovich dominated the opening round of competition yesterday at the Mancora Peru Classic in clean one-to-three foot (0.5 metre) waves.
Mulanovich came up against Hawaiian veterans Megan Abubo and Rochelle Ballard, netting back-to-back 8-point rides and combo-ing the field before closing the door shut with an incredible 9.25 out of a possible 10. “I really enjoy surfing my waves,” Mulanovich said. “This is the first time in competition that I’ve surfed the waves that I grew up surfing. Here and Lobitos and all down this North Coast is amazing. I grew up surfing here and it’s all good.”
Currently sitting 3rd on the 2007 ASP Women’s World Tour ratings, a solid result in Peru could see Mulanovich become a real threat for the 2007 Title. “I’m trying not to think about the World Title yet,” Mulanovich said. “I’m trying to do things wave by wave and heat by heat and we’ll see what happens.”
Reigning and seven-time ASP Women’s World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS) posted a commanding Round 1 win over compatriot Rebecca Woods (AUS) and European rookie Caroline Sarran (FRA). Beachley’s backhand mastery and ice-cold heat strategy was apparent in the impressive win which saw her net a 14.75 out of a possible 20 heat total.
“I think with an 8-point ride, it’s definitely built my confidence,” Beachley said. “I’ve struggled to score decent scores this year so it feels good. I feel a lot more relaxed since my world title hopes were dashed in Manly so now I’m just relaxed and focusing on surfing and having fun. I probably should have done that all year.”
Claire Belivacqua (AUS) posted a sensational come-from-behind victory over Brazilian powerhouse Silvana Lima and lethal wildcard Anali Gomez (PER). Needing a solid score with moments to go, Bevilacqua swung into a wide-breaking lefthander and tore it to shreds for a 7.00 out of a possible 10, rocketing her from 3rd to 1st.
“When I came in from my heat, I had no idea if I even got through,” Bevilacqua said. “There was so much crazy emotion and energy from the crowd and everyone was screaming “Peru! Peru! Peru!” I thought that I’d lost. I’m excited for the Peruvians and that they’re so into this sport. It makes us feel really special.”
Event organizers and competitors will convene today for a possible 7:30am start. When competition resumes, Round 2 will hit the water with Silvana Lima (BRA), Caroline Sarran (FRA) and Leilani Gryde (HAW) first up. The LIVE webcast, event information, photos and videos will be available via the ASP World Tour website.
ROUND 1 RESULTS: MANCORA PERU CLASSIC
Heat 1: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 11.50, Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 8.25, Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 6.50
Heat 2: Layne Beachley (AUS) 14.75, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.60, Caroline Sarran (FRA) 7.15
Heat 3: Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 11.50, Anali Gomez (PER) 11.50, Silvana Lima (BRA) 8.40
Heat 4: Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 13.50, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 13.00, Leilane Gryde (HAW) 8.90
Heat 5: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 17.25, Megan Abubo (HAW) 8.75, Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 8.00
Heat 6: Melanie Bartels (HAW) 14.25, Amee Donohoe (AUS) 13.15, Samantha Cornish (AUS) 10.90
ROUND 2 MATCH-UPS: MANCORA PERU CLASSIC
Heat 1: Silvana Lima (BRA), Caroline Sarran (FRA), Leilani Gryde (HAW)
Heat 2: Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Samantha Cornish (AUS), Rochelle Ballard (HAW)