Sofia Mulanovich Agustin Munoz/Red Bull Photofiles

How did you get into surfing?
We lived in front of really good waves. My parents surfed, so I started body boarding when I was like five years old. When I was nine I started shortboarding. It was cool growing up in Peru, because there were a lot of waves and it was not crowded. It was the perfect place to start surfing.

There was some political unrest in Peru when you were growing up. Did that affect you at all?
When I was a little girl there was terrorism and political bombings, but because I was so young it was just a part of my life. I never really stopped and thought about how dangerous it was. The moment I started surfing, that was the important thing for me. I didn’t know if I was going to be a professional surfer or not, but I knew it was going to be my hobby always.

How did you break into the international surfing scene?
I used to surf for Billabong; they gave me a couple of wildcards to go to Australia and South Africa. Then Roxy saw me surfing in those contests and the US Open. When I was 16, I signed with Roxy and they sponsored me to do the ‘QS, which was the thing I wanted to do the most. Then I made it through the ‘QS to the ‘CT.

When was the first time you left Peru?
I was probably 13; I went to Guadalupe for a Pan-American contest.

What was it like on that first trip out of the country?
It was really cool. I love Peru, but it was good to go and see something else and surf a different place, you know?

What about the first time you traveled off of the continent?
I think the first time was probably Australia when I was 14; I was invited to a ‘CT. It was great. I saw all the pro surfers and it was just cool. I was amazed by how big surfing was there.

What do you miss most about home when you’re not there?
I miss my family, my house, my brothers, and friends. I miss it a lot when I am not there.

What was your welcome party like when you returned home after winning the ’04 WCT title?
It was so much fun. All my family and friends and a lot of people were waiting for me at the airport. After that it was like a lot of parties, everybody was happy. I celebrated a lot!

Who has helped you the most with advice and guidance in your life and career?
A lot of people. My family and friends and also my coaches when I was small like Magoo de la Rosa and Roberto Meza. Martin Potter showed me a lot, too. A lot of people have helped me through my life.

Any particular lesson stand out?
Yeah—sometimes you win; sometimes you lose. You are probably going to lose more than you will win, so you just have to take it in and get the best experience out of everything.

What’s the best thing about surfing?
The best part about surfing is that it’s my passion. It’s what I like doing the most. Nobody really tells you how to surf a wave. You just go out there and do what you like doing.

What’s the most scared you’ve been while surfing?
I’m not sure. Probably surfing Sunset when I was younger.

How do you kill time during off days at contests?
I just hang out with my friends, go free surfing. Do some training too, when I can.

What kind of training do you do?
I do a lot of training at home called functional training; it’s like jumping and doing a lot of core stuff. I do a bit of running, too.

If you hadn’t started surfing, what other sport would you like to be good at?
Probably tennis. I would have loved to play tennis. I think it’s a cool sport.

Do you play a lot?
No, I don’t. I’m pretty bad at it. I just think it’s cool.

How do you view contests vs. filming trips? Which is more important to you?
I think they are both important. It’s great to just go out there and free surf and get shots, filming and all that. It’s also great to do well in contests. That’s a great feeling. They both compliment each other, I guess.

What’s been your favorite contest?
There is no more Fiji this year, but I just loved the Roxy Pro in Fiji. I think they all have their own thing. I love going to France and doing good there, everywhere…

What about your favorite filming trip?

Probably the TransWorld [Girl Super Trip] to the Mentawais last year. It was amazing just to push each other, and the waves were sick.

You’re being inducted into the surfing Hall of Fame in July; how does that feel?

It’s amazing. Being inducted with Bruce Irons, Martin Potter, and Al Merrick… It’s just a huge honor, for me, to be a part of that.

How much of a responsibility do you feel you have to be a role model to Peruvians?
I just do what I love doing. I’ve never done anything wrong—not wrong, bad. I’ve done many things wrong, but not bad. I don’t feel like I have a responsibility, this is just how I am.

How about to female athletes?

I don’t know—I get shy when people ask me that question.

You “work” where most people vacation. Where do you go for vacation?
I actually go home. I’m always on the road, so if I have free time, I wouldn’t go anywhere else but home, for sure.

You edited, directed, and produced your own surf movie (Muvi 2) in 2005. Would you like to make more films?
Maybe in the future. That was really like a home video, it wasn’t that good. I think I would like to do that, though; it’s really cool. Not just to see yourself surfing, but making parts for your brothers and friends, and they see it and get stoked. That’s a cool thing.

What accomplishment or aspect of your life are you most proud of?
I’m happy just being Latin American and hopefully helping the whole thing grow there. It’s a huge honor for me to kind of open the door for Pro Surfing there. There are a lot of kids surfing really well there now; hopefully there are going to be more World Champions. It’s just been good to show them that it’s possible.

What surfers do you respect and why?
I respect all the surfers; they all rip. My favorites are Andy Irons, Kelly Slater, Chelsea, Stephanie Gilmore, my friend Gabriel from home, and my family—my brothers.

What about outside of surfing?
Tiger Woods, Michael Jordan… Those guys who won so many things and are still so good at it. I admire them for sure, because that’s hard.

What’s next?
Just keep surfing, improve my surfing as much as I can. Try to make more finals and win more contests, and hopefully get another World Title. I just want to have fun and enjoy it and do it good, you know?


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