LIENCRES, Spain (Friday, Sept. 7, 2007)
2004 ASP World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) stepped up to the poduim's highest block at the Rip Curl Girls Festival in Liencres today, when she defeated Silvana Lima (BRA )to win Stop No. 4 of 7 on surfing's elite ASP Women's World Tour.
An absolute standout in the left breaking waves of Liencres, Mulanovich positioned herself as the event's top scorer, posting the only pair of 9-piont rides (out of a possible 10.00 points) in the earlier rounds, as well as a an excellent 8.50 against Lima in the final.
"I am so happy, I haven't won a contest for a while so this feels amazing," Mulanovich said. "I needed a pretty good score in that heat and I just thought to myself 'I can do this, these waves are perfect for my surfing and there is no way she is going to get this one off me, this is my wave'!"
In what proved to be a clash of fierce South American surfing, it was Lima who took an early lead in the 40-minute Final, her pair of seven-point rides leaving Mulanovich no choice but to reveal the depth of her surfing talent. The former ASP World Champion answered back with an 8.50 and 7.05.
"Silvana is an amazing surfer," Mulanovich said. "I knew it was going to be a tough Final but everything has worked out perfectly for me this week and now I am pumped and ready to go for the world title!"
The victory was Mulanovich's first of 2007 and has bumped her up from World No. 6 to World No. 3 on the ASP Ratings. Her best result of 2007 going into this event was a second place finish to Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) at the Rip Curl Women's Pro at Bells Beach in April.
Lima's runner-up finish marks her second consecutive second place result this year and sees her move up into the World No. 2 spot.
"It's amazing!" Lima said. "It's my second Final which is awesome and now I am second on the ASP ratings which is really important for me."
Leaving Spain, semifinalist Samantha Cornish (AUS) now holds the World No. 1 spot for the first time in her professional surfing career. Cornish finished equal third when she was ousted by Mulanovich in Semifinal 1.
"It's amazing!" Cornish glowed. "This was my plan for the whole year, it's really tight with five world title contenders and it's not going to be an easy road. Hopefully I can keep it together and you never know what could happen."
Cornish was awarded the ASP injury wildcard at the end of 2006 after nearly falling off the tour and has stamped her dominance on top tier surfing this year, with another outstanding performance at this event.
"It was a little disappointing to lose to Sofia in the Semis, but at the same time it's another great result," Cornish said. "Unfortunately the waves let me down today, Sofia just happened to have priority when the best ones came through and I did all that I could on what was given to me."
Inspired by her traveling buddy Samantha Cornish's recent success in Brazil, Amee Donohoe (AUS) secured her best result in her first year back on the ASP Women's World Tour, finishing equal third when she was defeated by Lima in Semifinal 2.
"I can't complain, it would have been nice to make the Final but this will improve my spot on the ratings and I just really want to stay on tour," Donohoe said.
Opening up with a 7.00 off her first wave, Donohoe was unable to find a back up score, allowing Lima a ticket into the Final with an 8.50 and a 5.50.
"I think we both got one good wave and she must have just done a bit more on it," Donohoe explained. "Silvana is a lot smaller than me and gets more drive out of her turns. She's got a few up on me now so I just hope I can give it back to her sometime."
Stephanie Gilmore (AUS), who was rated World No. 1 going into this event has lost her ratings lead, dropping to World No. 4 after a disappointing equal 9th place finish on Thursday.
"It's pretty disappointing to drop to fourth," Gilmore said. "The waves were definitely a factor at this event but you can't change that. I am just looking forward to going to Manly now and I guess this takes a bit of the pressure off. The points are still really close so it's going to be an interesting one."
The Rip Curl Girls Festival saw three back-to-back days of action packed surfing from the World's Top 17 Women who competed in Spain for the first time in ASP Women's World Tour history.
The Rip Curl Girls Festival will be broadcast around the world via live webcast transmission online at www.ripcurl.com/girlsfestival.
RIP CURL FINAL RESULT:
Heat: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 15.55 def Silvana Lima (BRA)14.00
RIP CURL FESTIVAL SEMIFINAL RESULTS:
Heat 1: Sofia Mulanvich (PER)16.25 def Samantha Cornish (AUS)11.75
Heat 2: Silvana Lima (BRA) 13.75 def Amee Donohoe (AUS)10.00
RIP CURL GIRLS FESTIVAL QUARTERFINAL RESULTS:
Heat 1: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 12.00 def Melanie Redman Carr (AUS)9.25
Heat 2: Sofia Mulanovich (PER)14.00 def Alana Blanchard (HAW)5.50
Heat 3: Amee Donohoe (AUS) 12.25 def Layne Beachley (AUS)5.00
Heat 4: Silvana Lima (BRA)11.10 def Roseanne Hodge (ZAF)9.25
RIP CURL GIRLS FESTIVAL ROUND THREE RESULTS:
Heat 1: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 10.75 def. Melanie Bartels (HAW)10.00
Heat 2: Melanie Redman Carr (AUS)12.00 def. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS)8.00
Heat 3: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 17.25 def Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS)10.75
Heat 4: Alana Blanchard (HAW)9.65 def Chelsea Hedges (AUS)9.40
Heat 5: Layne Beachley (AUS) 13.50 def Rochelle Ballard (HAW)5.35
Heat 6: Amee Donohoe (AUS) 12.50 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 7.50
Heat 7: Silvana Lima (BRA) 9.90 def Megan Abubo (HAW)9.50
Heat 8: Roseanne Hodge (ZAF)9.65 def Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)8.35