Peru’s Sofia Mulanovich won the Ballito Women’s Pro pres. by Billabong at Willard Beach in KwaDukuza on Wednesday, comfortably defeating top seed Philippa Anderson (AUS) in the 25 minute final held in lumpy, high-tide one metre waves.
For Mulanovich, the 2004 Women’s World Champion, it was a second event title in the long and storied history of what is now know as the Ballito Pro, having clinched her first title in what was then known as the Mr Price Pro at North Beach in Durban in 2002.
The Peruvian was dominant throughout the marathon day of competition, winning five consecutive heats including the final where she racked up scores of 6.0 and 5.25 (both out of 10) while Anderson could only produce a pair of fours, and the Australian was left needing 6.4 points when the siren went to end the encounter.
The first surfer from South America ever to win a world title cruised through the bottom half of the draw in Ballito, winning every heat she contested and overcoming the challenge of surfers half her age. Shino Matsudo (JPN), who was beaten in both their one-on-one semi-final and the four person quarter-final, has reached the final of two events in the past month and is 18 but, was she no match for the 35-year-old Mulanovich
The final result sees Anderson, who was born in South Africa, move up to No. 11 on the women’s World Surf League (WSL) Qualifying Series (QS) rankings, while Mulanovich jumps 19 places to No. 51.
The 32 entries for the QS 1,000 rated event were evenly split with 15 international competitors taking on 17 locals in Round One, which got underway immediately after the completion of the final four heats in the QS10,000 rated men’s event.
The top local performers were Nicole Pallet (La Lucia), Kai Woolf (Jeffreys Bay) and veteran two-time World Masters Champion Heather Clark (Port Shepstone), who all finished equal 9th after bowing out in the second round.
Full results from the opening day, along with news, images, video clips and more will be available at www.worldsurfleague.com
Organisers will meet at first light to decide on when to get the Round of 48 in the QS10,000 Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong underway.
Alongside the surfing, visitors will be spoiled for choice with non-stop activities providing even more entertainment throughout the Ballito festival site. South Africa’s hottest musical acts appealing to all tastes – rock, pop, hip hop, kwaito, electro and dance – will be performing live on Salt Rock Beach over the last weekend. Beach and extreme sports, culinary contests as well as quality retail and food stalls will captivate visitors at this coastal holiday highlight.
The Ballito Pro pres. by Billabong is proudly supported by the KwaDukuza Municipality, Billabong, Capitec Bank, Casio G-Shock, Ballito Junction Regional Mall, Coco Der Mer, 5FM, SMG Rocks, Monster Energy, Zigzag Surfing Magazine, World Surf League (WSL) and Surfing South Africa (SSA).