The third of seven events on the 2007 ASP Women's World Tour, the Billabong Girls Pro will take place at the renowned surfing beach of Praia da Tiririca, following a 4-Star ASP Women's World Qualifying Series (WQS) event being held there now.
2004 ASP World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) is one of a niche of South American athletes currently competing on the elite tier tour. At World No. 3, the petite Peruvian is likely to have the crowd support sway heavily in her favor.
"I like Brazil a lot and being the only contest in South America makes me want to do good there," Mulanovich said. "The waves are really testing but you need to be able to adjust your surfing to all conditions. I will try my best and take it wave by wave and heat by heat and always give 100%."
The first and only South American surfer to have won an ASP World Tour Title (Men included), Mulanovich has spent the first two events of the year at opposite ends of the heat draw and will be looking to put her last place result on the Gold Coast of Australia, behind her.
"It has been an interesting year for me until now," Mulanovich said. "To finish dead last on the Gold Coast was a shocker but it made me realize I had to up my game and go and make the final at Bells. Having a good result at Bells (Mulanovich finished second) has given me confidence for the year head. I can't wait to see what I can do in Brazil."
Mulanovich is one of three South Americans on the ASP Women's World Tour, including World No. 4 Silvana Lima (BRA) who finished equal 3rd at Itacaré last year, and World No. 10 Jacqueline Silva (BRA).
Despite surfing with a broken nose (sustained during a free surfing accident), Jessi Miley Dyer (AUS) finished runner up behind 7X ASP World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS) in Brazil last year, and will endeavor to match this performance next week.
"I was really stoked with how I went in Brazil last year, it was the first time I'd done well in a World Tour event," Miley Dyer said. "It reminds me of a beach that I surf at home all the time, so it's nice that it feels familiar. I want to do well again for sure; hopefully I can make the Final like I did last year."
The powerful goofy-footer (right foot forward stance) finished 2006 rated World No. 4 but has not made it past Round 3 in 2007.
"I have done rubbish so far this year!" Miley Dyer said. "I am not really worried though as there have only been two events. We still have the whole year left pretty much, so I'm looking to do better than I have in the events to come."
The waiting period for the Billabong Girls Pro, Itacaré extends from August 20 – 27 and needs just two full days of surfing to be completed.
Heat 1 will see Mulanovich take on World No. 4 Samantha Cornish (AUS) and returning ASP World Tour campaigner Melanie Bartels (HAW), who is back on tour after falling off the ratings at the end of 2005.
BILLABONG GIRLS PRO BRAZIL ROUND ONE MATCH-UPS
Heat 1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER), Samantha Cornish (AUS), Melanie Bartels (HAW)
Heat 2: Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), Jessi Miley Dyer (Aus), Caroline Sarran (France)
Heat 3: Chelsea Hedges (AUS), Jacqueline Silva (BRA), Wildcard (TBD) Heat 4: Layne Beachley (AUS), Megan Abubo (HAW), Rochelle Ballard (HAW) Heat 5: Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS), Amee Donohoe (AUS), Roseanne Hodge (ZAF)
Heat 6: Rebecca Woods (AUS), Silvana Lima (BRA), Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)