Sofia Mulanovich Wins The 2008 Roxy Pro Gold Coast

Surf: Three foot semi-Superbank, clean
Events Held: Roxy Pro to finals
Nature’s Call: It’s now or never, team
Predicted: Swell increase today for Quik Pro men’s round three manglefest

If this was a story about the contest winner, it’d be all about Sofia Mulanovich.

Sofia surfed a textbook final day, refusing to make silly mistakes and never looking seriously worried by any of her opponents. She took home a deserved first place, and will lead the women into the next event at Bells with a lot of well-earned confidence.

Yet a bigger story than a simple contest win played out at this year’s opening chicks’ event. A massive skills gap is breaking open in this arena, between exciting young surfers who blow out the tail and rip through a move range beyond anything yet seen in women’s surfing, and the old-school pros who’ve been working the same stuff for over a decade – and don’t like this new trend one bit.

It’s weirdly reminiscent of the blokes’ New School changes of the early 1990s, when Kelly Slater and his young buddies began turning the tour – and the judging criteria – upside down.

Poster girl for the new era today was Hawaiian Carissa Moore. With another year and a little more muscle since 2007’s rookie finals appearance, Carissa surfed so far over most of the field it was actually almost ridiculous. She took down a nervous Steph Gilmore in her first heat, then turned it up against Melanie Bartels with the highest score of the event – both efforts all the more special thanks to the quality of her opposition, both of whom are part of the Excitement Brigade.

The judges had to work hard to reward her – mainly because they’re having to wrestle with the sudden appearance of this skill gap.

ASP Head Judge Perry Hatchett was approached here by several older women pros who expressed their discomfort with the high scores being given for tail-busting top turn slides and full 180 rotation carves in the pocket. “They’re saying, do you guys really like these turns? I have to tell ’em, yeah Š you can’t be constantly dragging back, waiting for the inside section, you need to be surfing tight and doing big things from the start.”

Hatchett’s normally engaging with male surfers who feel his panel isn’t being adventurous enough. Now he’s fielding the opposite. “They take it really personally,” he says. Surprise, surprise!

By way of contrast, girls like Sofia and her finalist opponent Sam Cornish are surfing right down the middle. They have a bit of the old and a bit of the new; good timing, nice moves, flow, carving without freaking out. Maybe, for the chicks, that’ll be 2008’s recipe for success.

Carissa Moore

Roxy Pro Gold Coast pres. by LG Final:
1 – Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 17.34
2 – Samantha Cornish (AUS) 7.83

Semifinals: 1st advances to Final; 2nd finishes Equal 3rd
SF 1: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 16.{{{90}}} def. Carissa Moore (HAW) 15.53
SF 2: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.50 def. Amee Donohoe (AUS) 10.33

Quarterfinals: 1st advances to Semifinals; 2nd finishes Equal 5th
QF 1: Samantha Cornish (AUS) 15.60 def. Layne Beachley (AUS) 12.00
QF 2: Carissa Moore (HAW) 17.{{{57}}} def. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 9.07
QF 3: Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 13.16 def. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 7.10
QF 4: Amee Donohoe (AUS) 10.73 def. Julia De La Rosa Toro (PER) 10.33

2008 ASP Women's World Tour Ratings after the Roxy Pro Gold Coast pres. by LG
1. Sofia Mulanovich (PER) 1200 points
2. Samantha Cornish (AUS) 972 points
3. Amee Donohoe (AUS) 756 points
4. Layne Beachley (AUS) 552 points
4. Rebecca Woods (AUS) 552 points
4. Melanie Bartels (HAW) 552 points
4. Julia de la Rosa Toro (PER) 552 points
8. Stephanie Gilmore (AUS) 360 points
8. Silvana Lima (BRA) 360 points
8. Megan Abubo (HAW) 360 points
8. Rosanne Hodge (ZAF ) 360 points
8. Jacqueline Silva (BRA) 360 points
8. Serena Brooke (AUS) 360 points
8. Nicola Atherton (AUS) 360 points
8. Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) 360 points
16. Jessi Miley-Dyer (AUS) 180 points
16. Melanie Redman-Carr (AUS) 180 points
16. Karina Petroni (USA) 180 points