Thursday, March 02, 2006

Sofia Mulanovich: That Chick Is Crippler! permanent link   2 comments
I was a land rat all my life until moving to Lima a little over a year ago. I expected the local sports channels to broadcast football and volleyball all day long since these are the only major sports where Peruvians have a somewhat successful history.
Being a big futbol fan myself, and after spending 8 years in soccer-no-mans-land USA, where most people consider soccer a women's sport anyway, I was truly excited to finally being able to catch up on my neglected knowledge about Claudio 'Pizza' Pizarro, Paolo 'The Warrior' Guerrero and Jefferson Farfan. After having done that, I discovered another fun sport and another Peruvian success story.
Looking out my window I can see the Pacific ocean, the beach is only a 15-minute walk away. I can see the the breaking waves and the tiny, colorful spots riding on top of the white foam.

Surfing and bodyboarding is BIG in Peru and growing, especially since local sensation Sofia Mulanovich captured the World Champion crown in 2004, the first South American to accomplish this feat. The world's best surfers traditionally come from Australia, Hawaii, California and, most recently, Brazil.
But Peru, with three times the coastline of California, has a rich history of surfing, dating to the 1930s when a playboy jet-setter named Carlos Dogny introduced the sport that he had learned on trips to Hawaii. Estimates say there are about 20,000 surfers in Peru today, and surf shops are scattered throughout Lima's coastal neighborhoods, thanks to Sofia.

Mulanovich is nicknamed 'La Gringa' because of her fair-colored skin, blonde-streaked hair and ability to speak fluent English. She also speaks surfer slang, tossing out words like 'gnarly, stoked, dude and crippler'.
Sofia was born in Lima and her parents now live in a beach house in Punta Hermosa (50 km south of Lima). She began competing against ..and defeating.. boys in local tournaments. At 14, she visited Hawaii for the first time, watched some of the top female surfers hit the waves and aspired to reach their level. Upon returning to Peru, "I started surfing more and watching more surfing videos. I began begging my mom to let me stay home from school when the waves were good." It was worth it!

In 2005, she won the prestigious ESPY Award for Best Female Action Sports Athlete, sitting along side side top 'mainstream' athletes of the likes of Lance Armstrong (cycling) and Roger Federer (tennis) who also picked up 'gongs' for their efforts in their respective sports.
The pint-sized regular-foot (left foot forward) surfer beat a host of well fancied action sports ladies to the title. The ESPY Awards were created by USA based cable TV sports giant, ESPN in 1993 and are presented for Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly.

The documentary "Sofia" has been made including tracing her rise from poverty to domination in women's professional surfing. A screening is currently shown at the San Luis Obisbo Film Festival in California.

She is currently competing at the Roxy Pro at at Snapper Rocks, Australia.

As for me, I feel the urge to run to the next surfer shop and get me one of those bodyboards, a wet suit and fins. I never tried this sport before and bodyboarding seems to be easier for beginners and the boards are much smaller, therefore easier to carry under your arm. Yeehaw!


At 3/02/2006 09:54:00 PM, Blogger gamma-normids wrote...

Dunno if you can't speak Spanish, so...

See, there are lots of sports practiced here in Peru, which had brought lots of awards as well. Yet, no one notices or no ones cares, as the only thing people see on TV and newspapaers is football... Lame.

At 3/03/2006 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Inka-Wolfy wrote...

feel free to comment in any language you prefer!

I totally agree with you and I for one DO CARE! :-)
The local media sports coverage IS lame. For example, I would have loved to see at least a little from the Winter Olympics or watch a tennis match with Luis Horna. Its funny that the media pays so much attention to futbol, yet the Peruvians ended up next to last in World Cup qualifying in South America and the clubs almost never make it to the second round at the Copa Libertadores.
Whenever I watch a local football game on TV (which doesn't happen too often), the attendance is pitiful and I am appalled by the actual sloppy play in comparison to other leagues around the world.
It also seems to me that only a couple of hundred people actually attend, most stadium seats are always empty. Maybe because of the evidently poor quality of play, but more so because every game is shown live on TV anyway and Cable Mágico puts players with poor skills on a pedestal in an almost cultish fashion, players who couldn't even hit a barn door.

A little variety would be so much healthier and much more interesting, in my humble opinion.

ok, now I am waiting for the controversy to flood in .. :-)


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