(PRESS RELEASE)Friday, April 23, 2004 (Tavarua & Namotu Islands, Fiji) Peruvian Sofia Mulanovich today won, the most lucrative women’s WCT event (US$73,{{{300}}}), the fourth annual Roxy Pro in perfect conditions. Perfect 4-5 ft (1.5m) waves were on offer for the final day at Cloudbreak. The new swell, which was generated from a storm 10-days ago some 9,000kms away, arrived on cue for an ideal event climax. The 35-minute final against Hawaiian Rochelle Ballard proved the best heat of the entire tournament, as both contestants posted huge scores with incredible surfing. Mulanovich’s opening ride secured her piece of history though, as the diminutive natural footer waited for one of the larger set waves and unleashed an inspired backhand attack for the Roxy Pro’s only perfect 10-point score. Riding the success of her recent ISA world title in Ecuador just two weeks ago, the 20-year-old then locked in another 7.75 to create a commanding lead. Having previously finished runner-up in the 2002 Roxy Pro France – as an event wildcard, today’s result marks her first WCT win and moved her into third position on the current ASP ratings.”I’m in the clouds right now,” began Mulanovich, after being congratulated by fellow competitors and friends in the lineup. “Everything here is so beautiful and perfect, and I can’t imagine being happier.” ”It was great surfing against ‘Roachie’,” she added, of her roommate on Tavarua. ”We’ve been talking about how it would be if we both made the final, and it happened. I knew my first wave was a good one, but I had todo everything I could to win the final. It felt really good when they said it was a 10-point ride, but I was still really nervous, as I knew she could get one also. I just had to take advantage of the situation, and thank God another wave came for me.”Ballard, who posted a near-perfect 9.75 backhand tube ride this morning, as well as the highest combined tally of the tournament for 18.5-points, was clearly in form. The 33-year-old commenced her final campaign strongly and emerged from another deep barrel for an 8.75, yet still required another worth 9.01-points at completion.By reaching her second consecutive final of the year though, she had already amassed enough points to take the ratings lead.”I’m really excited,” said Ballard, of the ratings. ”It feels weird to be in the first two finals in a row and not win, but it’s actually just making me hungrier. Every competitor on the WCT this year is really insane, and I look up to all of the girls, so it’s never a walk in the park.” Two Roxy expression sessions were also held today, one prior to and then another following the final. Chelsea Georgeson collected the best ride in the opening session, while Keala Kennelly was awarded the best maneuver.Then in the second, Laurina McGrath and Heather Clark (ZAF) did likewise. With competition responsibilities now out of the way, the world’s best women are partying like there’s no tomorrow on Tavarua Island. DJ KK (world #2 Keala Kennelly) has the dance floor packed and festivities are sure to continue long after another majestic sunset has highlighted the day’s end here in paradise.Official Roxy Pro Results
1st Sofia Mulanovich (PERU) 17.75 – US$10,{{{600}}}
2nd Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 15.5 – US$6,600
Semifinals (1st>Final; 2nd=3rd receives US$4,600)
SF1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 17.25 def. Maria Tavares (BRA) 7.75
SF2: Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 14.75 def. Laurina McGrath (AUS) 14.25
Quarterfinals (1st>Semifinals; 2nd=5th receives US$)
QF1: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 14.4 def. Chelsea Georgeson (AUS) 9.6
QF2: Maria Tavares (BRA) 12.9 def. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 12.75
QF3: Laurina McGrath (AUS) 15.0 def. Layne Beachley (AUS) 12.0
QF4: Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 18.25 def. Trudy Todd (AUS) 13.5
Official ASP women’s Top 10 ratings after WCT#2
1. Rochelle Ballard (HAW) 1,{{{944}}}-points
2. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 1,752
3. Sofia Mulanovich (PERU) 1,560
=4. Chelsea Georgeson (AUS), Maria Tavares (BRA), Laurina McGrath (AUS)
7. Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS)
8. Layne Beachley (AUS) 1,104
=9. Samantha Cornish (AUS), Trudy Todd (AUS) 912