Triple Crown Success Speaks Volumes for Stature of Women's Surfing
In only four years on the elite World Championship Tour of Surfing, Roxy team-rider Sofia Mulanovich (PERU) has notched up every major accolade in the sport, culminating this week in her win of the esteemed Vans Triple Crown of Surfing. Sofia, just 23 years of age, officially clinched the Triple Crown title late yesterday on Maui to receive a $10,000 bonus purse that is the equivalent of a major championship event win.
On the 10th anniversary of the women's Triple Crown, which began in 1997, Mulanovich emerged from the three-event Series held on the Hawaiian islands of Oahu and Maui as the most consistent performer across the three events: the Op Pro at Haleiwa, Oahu, which she won; the Roxy Pro Hawaii at Sunset Beach, where she placed 9th; and the final stop, the Billabong Pro at Honolua Bay, Maui, which resulted in a fifth placing.
Outside of the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) world title, the Vans Triple Crown title is considered to be the most prestigious title to win on tour. Not only is the Series staged at three of the surfing world's most famous and challenging venues, but the deep history and tradition of these events, and ultimately surfing's Hawaiian roots, make them the most respected tournaments on tour.
Mulanovich, 23, now adds her name to the Vans Triple Crown Series honor roll, alongside 7-time world champion Layne Beachley (AUS), 2005 world champion and fellow Roxy team-rider Chelsea Georgeson (AUS), Hawaii's Keala Kennelly, Neridah Falconer (AUS), Heather Clarke (SAFR), and Trudy Todd (AUS).
"With the return of the Roxy Pro to the big waves of Sunset Beach, along with Hawaiian Pro and the final event at Honolua, Maui, the women's Triple Crown is without a doubt the greatest test of women's surfing," said long-time Triple Crown Director Randy Rarick. "As is the case with the men, proving your worth among your peers is a sure way to make your mark in history. Sofia's win doesn't just speak volumes for her own ability, but is a true indicator of the high level women's surfing is at today."
Sofia's star potential has been evident since she first stepped foot on a surfboard at age nine. When she embarked upon the World Qualifying Series in 2002, she qualified for the elite WCT tour by the end of that first season. In 2004, in only her second year on the WCT, she won the world title, wrapping it up during the Hawaiian season at the Roxy Pro.
Indeed, Sofia's reliably strong performances in Hawaii over the past five years have played an critical part in the overall scheme of her success. It has long been said that if you're going to make it in surfing, you have to make it in Hawaii during the challenging winter season. Sofia has done that, winning the 2003 Roxy Pro that was held at Haleiwa, and placing highly each year at all three venues.
Sofia's Triple Crown victory this winter proved her strength in both critical surf and under year-end pressure to perform, rounding out a year where she reached the quarter finals or higher in 75% of the eight ASP WCT events. Sofia finished the year ranked fifth in the world and is surely promised a long, successful career ahead.
"Along with the world title, the Triple Crown is right up there and winning it is amazing," said Sofia. "Just to win in Hawaii is incredible - it's such a prestigious place for surfers. This year has been a very good year for me. I've learned a lot more about my surfing, my boards are great and I feel more prepared for next year. It has been a year of experience for me. I feel that I have grown a lot as a surfer and a person. Triple Crown was the icing on the cake."