Thursday, April 21, 2005 (Tavarua & Namotu Islands, Fiji): A nailbiting finish in the dying seconds of the Roxy Pro in Fiji was all Sofia Mulanovich (Peru) needed to reassert her supremacy over women's surfing today.
In clean five foot (1.5m) waves at Cloudbreak Reef, Mulanovich caught a winning ride with only 10 seconds remaining in the final after Layne Beachley (Aus) appeared to have won the title.
"I'm in the clouds, this place never lets me down," current world champion Mulanovich said after the win, which makes her the first-ever repeat winner of the Roxy Pro in Fiji. "Last year I was on my way to being world champion and then this year I felt all that pressure, so this win is even better than last year's."
Needing less than a five-point ride at the halfway mark of the 35-minute final, the Peruvian waited patiently while holding priority to catch the wave she needed.
Paddling into a wave with only seconds to go, she performed a series of quick maneuvers under intense pressure to score seven-plus points for an emphatic victory. "I always had hope into the last minutes and then God sent me a wave and I took advantage of it and I won – and I'm so happy," Mulanovich said.
A very disappointed Beachley struggled to make sense of it all after the loss. "I'm not taking it very well because I put so much heart into it," she said. "I'm really happy for Sof, she surfed well, but I'm very disappointed in myself because once again I made a tactical wave selection error which cost me the whole contest."
With the Roxy Pro being the richest event on the 2005 Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) Women's World Championship Tour (WCT), Mulanovich won a first prize check of US$10,600 out of the total US$75,800 purse.
Mulanovich has now won back-to-back victories on this year's tour, after winning at Bells Beach, Australia last month, and she has taken the lead on the 2005 ratings. Hawaiian Megan Abubo is in second place with Layne Beachley third.
Mulanovich looked very focused on the final day of the Roxy Pro, defeating Hawaiian Rochelle Ballard in a semi-final, Australian Samantha Cornish in the quarterfinals, and Australian wildcard Stephanie Gilmore in round three.
Beachley defeated Megan Abubo (Haw) in the semi-finals, and Hawaiian Keala Kennelly in the quarter-finals.
The Roxy Pro was memorable for huge 6-10 foot (2-3m) surf on the first day of competition with outstanding performances from the top women professional surfers, who broke new ground for women's surfing.
Roxy Pro Final (1st=1,200 points and $10,600, 2nd= 972 points and $6,600)
Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.75 def Layne Beachley (AUS) 11.25
Roxy Pro Semifinals (1st>Final; 2nd=3rd and $4,600)
SF1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 15.65 def Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 12.75
SF2: Layne Beachley (AUS) 14.75 def Megan Abubo (HAW) 11.90
Roxy Pro Quarterfinals (1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5 th and $3,600)
QF1: Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 13.75 def Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 10.50
QF2: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 9.00 def Samantha Cornish (AUS) 3.50
QF3: Megan Abubo (HAW) 10.15 def Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 9.25
QF4: Layne Beachley (AUS) 12.90 def Keala Kennelly (HAW) 9.00
WCT RATINGS AFTER EVENT #3 ROXY PRO FIJI 2005
1. Sofia Mulaovich 2760
2. Megan Abubo 2484
3. Layne Beachley 2280
4. Serena Brooke 1692
5. Rochelle Ballard 1668
6. Chelsea Georgeson 1668
7. Jacqueline Silva 1464
8. Samantha Cornish 1464
9. Melanie Redmann-Carr 1464
10. Claire Bevilaqua 1296