‘I’m so Happy’: Sophia Mulanovich wins the Op Pro Hawaii Womens title at Haleiwa and now leads the Vans Triple Crown.

EVENTS HELD THURSDAY: Womens Round 2 until the Final.
CONDITIONS: 2 foot lefts and rights with on and off side shore wind.
NATURE’S CALL: Obviously whatever she darn well pleases.
PREDICTIONS: The men go surfing?

It could have been the final. Four of the best in womens surfing, duking it out in peaky Haleiwa. (Yeah, due to lack of swell, the powerhouse righthander was demeaned into a peak yesterday.) But while it may not have been macking, it was down right contestable and quarterfinal number 1 featuring, Chelsea Georgeson, Rochelle Ballard, Stephanie Gilmore and Laurina Mcgrath turned into a full on barnburner. Georgeson set the bar with a 9.3 on her first wave, but even that wasn't a safe bet, as Chelsea would go down. Freshly graduated from high school, and WCT bound Stephanie Gilmore posted a high 8, then in the dying moments of the heat she unleashed the hammer. Gilmore blasted across the reef on her back hand, and didn't stop until she had a 9.2. She kicked out just as the buzzer sounded and all Chelsea could do was tip her cap and smile. Even she was impressed.

On a deck padless 6'3'' Gilmore proved throughout the day that she is by far one of the most powerful, and stylish newcomers in surfing. "I didn't use a deck pad in this event because I think it makes me look like Occ," she said giggling, about her board choice for the event. And with the kind of turns she was throwing down all day, Occy would have been proud. Steph took her smile and a 'no worries' accent straight to the final.

Joining the smiley Gilmore in the final was the happiest Peruvian girl you'll ever run across: Sophia Mulanovich. Sophia actually played catch up in most of her heats on the final day. While many of her competitors may have peaked a bit early, the 2005 world champ hit her stride in the final. From the sound of the horn, Sofia turned it on. With an 8.17 out of the gates, backed up by a 7.67, it was lights out for the rest of the heat. Sophia took the win in the Op Pro Hawaii.

Being carried up the beach Sofia's smile was contagious. Her trademark response said it all. "I'm so happy! To win an event at such a prestigious wave is such an honor."

Sofia is currently rated number four on the WCT, and now leads the {{{Vans}}} Triple Crown of Surfing going into the Roxy Pro at Sunset Beach.