SUNSET BEACH, Hawaii (Thursday, Nov. 29, 2007) – Former ASP World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) tamed 8 to 10 foot (three metre) surf at Sunset Beach to win the Roxy Pro Hawaii today. Her victory has put her just 101 points behind ratings leader Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) and put her well and truly in the race to win her second World Title heading into the final event on the 2007 ASP Women's World Tour in Maui next week.
"It's pretty amazing, I really never thought of a World Title coming here," Mulanovich said. "I just wanted to have fun, surf wave by wave, and just have a good contest. But now it's on, it's so on!"
The victory is her second on the 2007 ASP Women's World Tour and the 8th of her World Tour career. It is also Mulanovich's first ASP World Tour rated win in Hawaii.
"I'm just stoked," Mulanovich said. "Sunset can be such a perfect wave. I really want to thank Rochelle Ballard for helping me out with my board choice, she pushed me to use that board and it really paid off. Thanks to everyone who helped me out, my boyfriend who was my caddie and my longtime sponsor Roxy for another great event."
Mulanovich finished the four-woman final with 13.73 points to Amee Donohoe's (AUS) 10.83, Samantha Cornish's (AUS) 7.64 and Jessi Miley-Dyer's (AUS) 6.40 points. Donohoe, who only needed a mid-range score to take the lead, was understandably disappointed to miss out on her first World Tour win but has jumped to 5th on the ratings with the result.
"I'll be honest – it's a good result but to sum it in two words, second sucks," Donohoe said. "There was a turning point when I took off on a wave with like three minutes to go because I didn't realize that there was a bigger set coming through behind that one. I just took off on a shoulder and when I turned around there were three waves with the scoring potential to easily get a 6.0. That was the point where I just got really frustrated. I knew I had made a mistake. Everyone is a good competitor and you can't give anyone an inch."
Cornish, who along with reigning and 7X World Champion Layne Beachley (AUS) and 2005 World Champion Chelsea Hedges (AUS), was factored out of the 2007 title race when she didn't win the Roxy Pro Hawaii, was smiling despite finishing 3rd in the Final. The current World No. 4 earned a wildcard back on to the World Tour in 2007 after just missing out on requalification last year.
"I'm pretty happy to make the final, it's really tough out there, but it was an excellent day," Cornish said. "I'm super stoked, it was great result. Like I said earlier, I just want to surf well and see what I can do."
Miley-Dyer was the lone goofy-footed (right-foot forward) surfer in the Final and was pleased just to have advanced to the Roxy Pro Final today.
"I'm really happy with how it all went," Miley Dyer said. "Sunset is a really hard wave on your backhand. Not a lot of goofy-footers have really done well here so I put a lot of time in this week. I've been riding my 7'0" board at Velzyland (a right-breaking wave like Sunset Beach) and here and looking like an idiot, but I'm really glad I did it."
Miley Dyer, like the rest of the field, have reveled in the big rights over the course of the contest and was very vocal about being up for the challenge.
"I think Sunset is a good wave, it's a real challenge," Miley-Dyer. "I think that for any kind of athlete to take themselves out of their comfort zone and push themselves will only make them better. Sunset does that for us. I'm just really happy to get 4th."
Four of the six women who were still in contention for the World Title at the beginning of day, were eliminated in the Quarterfinals. Gilmore, who was mathematically capable of clinching the World Title today had she fared differently, was among them.
"Yeah, it's disappointing but I just had a bad heat, I got caught on the inside a few times," Gilmore said. "At one point I paddled pretty deep and then a big set came and I just looked at Jessie thinking I was going to die. It just broke on my head, I tried to duck under but it just smoked me. Then I got about six more on the head and by that time I only had half a board, it was pretty strenuous. I wasn't really in the right position by the end and then time just ran out."
Gilmore maintains her ratings lead despite her 9th place finish today, but Mulanovich and World No. 2 Silvana Lima have gained considerable ground.
"It will keep it interesting," Gilmore said. "It's definitely going to be a hard task to win the World Title, both Sofia and Silvana are closing in on the gap extremely fast.
Lima was rated 2nd before her 9th place result at Sunset. She has dropped to 3rd behind Mulanovich now. Still, after coming back from a knee injury and in only her second year on tour, Lima is happy to still be within reach of the title.
"It's disappointing, but with me and Steph out now, we'll just have to take it to Maui," Lima said. "Maui is great, perfect waves and it's so beautiful. Good things have happened to me there."
Beachley, who won her seventh title in Maui last year is no longer an outside chance for an eighth after losing in the Quarters.
"The World Title has been out of my reach since the start of the year," Beachley said. "I haven't surfed consistently enough and I haven't really allowed myself to win. More importantly today, it's just disappointing to lose at perfect Sunset. It's my favorite wave in the world and I just can't do it any justice, it's frustrating as hell."
Sixteen-year-old wildcard Coco Ho (HAW) was named the 2007 Vans Triple Crown of Surfing Rookie for her success at Sunset Beach this week, while the Schick Quattro Style Award went to Gilmore.
Current Triple Crown Ratings Leader Megan Abubo (HAW) has kept her lead despite suffering a potential rib injury in the Semifinals and exiting the water midway through her heat. She left the beach by ambulance and her injuries are still unconfirmed at this point.
Caroline Sarran (FRA) was also absent from her Quarterfinal heat due to injury. She suffered a neck injury free surfing yesterday.
Mulanovich has moved to 2nd behind Abubo on the Triple Crown ratings, followed by Donohoe in 3rd, Beachley in 4th and Melanie Bartels (AUS) in 5th.
Roxy Pro Hawaii Final Results:
Final: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.73, Amee Donohoe (AUS) 10.83, Samantha Cornish (AUS) 7.64, Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 6.40
Roxy Pro Hawaii Semifinal Results: 1st and 2nd Advance, 3rd finishes Equal 7th, 4th finishes Equal 5th
Heat 1: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 14.67, Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 12.34, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 9.90, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 5.33
Heat 2: Amee Donohoe (AUS) 9.73, Samantha Cornish (AUS) 5.63, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 5.33, Megan Abubo (HAW) 0.43
Roxy Pro Hawaii Quarterfinal Results: 1st and 2nd Advance, 3rd finishes Equal 9th, 4th finishes Equal 13th
Heat 1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.77, Melanie Bartels (HAW) 10.43, Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 6.33, Caroline Sarran (FRA) INJ
Heat 2: Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 13.17, Rebecca Woods (AUS) 12.34, Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 7.64, Coco Ho (HAW) 6.17
Heat 3: Amee Donohoe (AUS) 12.00, Megan Abubo (HAW) 9.67, Leilani Gryde (HAW) 8.54, Silvana Lima (BRA) 5.33
Heat 4: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 12.03, Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 11.90, Layne Beachley (AUS) 11.07, Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 8.90
Ratings after Event No. 7 of 8 on the 2007 ASP Women's World Tour – the ROxy Pro Hawaii:
1. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 5,868
2. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 5,767
3. Silvana Lima (BRA) 5,252
4. Samantha Cornish (AUS) 4,440
5. Amee Donohoe (AUS) 4,406
6. Chelsea Hedges (AUS) 4,238
7. Layne Beachley (AUS) 4,214
8. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 3,553
9. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 3,438
10. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 2,976
11. Megan Abubo (HAW) 2,862
12. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 2,784
13. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 2,654
14. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF) 2,424
15. Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 2,412
16. Caroline Sarran (FRA) 2,322
17. Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 1,530
18. Leilani Gryde (HAW) 972