Professional surfer Sofia Mulanovich grew up in Punta Hermosa, a small town outside of Lima, where she rode a body board at 5 and graduated to a short board by age 9. At 12, she sharpened her lethal backside skills on Peru’s many perfect lefts. Encouraged and nurtured by her family and friends, Sofia’s natural surfing talent soon gave way to major results as she charged against the boys in local competitions. She turned pro in 1999 at the age of 16, already well into five consecutive Peruvian National Championships and scored a sponsorship from ROXY that same year. Nicknamed “La Gringa” back home for her blue eyes and blond-streaked hair, Sofia has drive, graciousness and uncanny natural surf ability in her DNA, all the makings of a true athletic hero.
Fearless Sofia is known for her persistence and commitment to the sport of surfing. Sofia’s turn on the world stage began with an impressive year on the World Qualifying Series in 2002, ultimately earning her a spot on the World Championship tour. Ever determined, she nabbed the 2003 WCT Rookie of the Year title with her hard-charging style, finishing the season with a top-ten ranking. 2004 started off with an auspicious win. In Salinas, Ecuador she took the title of 2004 ISA World Champion, propelling the Peruvian team’s standing to an unprecedented fourth place with her win. This marked the beginning of greatness for Sofia and her country. She rocked the 2004 WCT season with three consecutive wins in Fiji, Tahiti and France and second places at the US Open and the ROXY Pro in Haleiwa.
It wasn’t until 2004 that Sofia made history when she earned the first world surfing title for both herself and her country. The ASP World Championship title made her not only the first Peruvian athlete to ever win a national sports championship, but also the first modern day Latin American world surfing champ, man or woman. Sofia celebrated the moment by being loyal to her native upbringing and remembering where she came from; “When I was a little kid I used to dream about this. I’ve done this for my country and for all South Americans. Just to make a change and give them hope. If you really want something, you’ll get it.” ESPN awarded her with a 2005 ESPY for Best Female Action Sports Athlete, and President Toledo of Peru presented her with the elite Laurel’s Sport Award, commemorated with a monument placed outside the National Stadium in Lima.
Sofia has been showered with media attention for her tremendous accomplishments and become a genuine ambassador of the sport. She was named one of the “World’s Most Intriguing Surfers” in the 2004 Surfer Magazine Collector’s Edition, and one of the “Favorite Female Surfers” in the Surfer’s Poll Awards. She even presented at the 2003 MTV Latin Video Music Awards and made cameos on the MTV series “Surf Girls.” To top it off, a documentary on her life debuted at the X-Dance Film Festival in Park City, Utah in early 2006.
On July 27, 2007, Sofia was inducted into the Surfers Hall of Fame during its 10th Anniversary celebration. She is the first South American to receive this high honor, having had such a major impact on the sport of surfing. At 25-years-old, she continues to show tremendous strength and dedication throughout her career. Sofia always dreamed of becoming a world-class surfer and now she is considered one of the best female surfers of all-time. Sofia has an amazing love for her surf-obsessed family and dedication to her country. After all, when Sofia was young, her grandfather, father and two brothers trained her on the waves. When Sofia isn’t dotting the globe for contests and photo shoots, she loves to spend time at home with family and close friends. Sofia’s wonderful heart and warm personality has impacted everyone that crosses her path.