Peru and Venezuela Are Going to China Looking to Capitalize on Their Recent Success in ISA Events

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ISA and ASP World Champion in 2004, Sofía Mulanovich (PER), travels to China as one of the favorites to win the Open Women’s gold. Photo: ISA/RommelGonzalez

2004 Women’s World Champion Joins the Peruvian Squad

Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival Presented by Quiksilver
January 7 to 14, 2012
Wanning, Hainan Island, China

Peru and Venezuela are two South American countries that have staged steady climbs up the ranks of ISA World Championship events in recent years. Both countries will field National Teams that hope to continue their ascension as they head east for the ISA China Cup with rosters packed with talented and internationally proven surfers.

The ISA China Cup is the first of two events comprising the Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival Presented by Quiksilver, which will begin January 7 and run through January 10. In a country of 1.4 billion people, the hope is that the Festival will serve as a spark in introducing the sport and growing a surf culture along China’s 9,000-plus miles of coastline. The Festival is the work of the ISA and Womei Media, a Beijing sports and media organization that is exclusively representing the ISA’s commercial interests in China.

The four-day ISA China Cup will feature the finest surfers from the top eight qualifying countries, based on the results of the 2011 ISA World Surfing Games. Each country will field a National Team of 4 men and 2 women vying for team and individual gold medals.

The Peruvians have managed to establish themselves as one of the teams and countries to watch. Team Peru reached the pinnacle of ISA competition in 2010, winning a team gold medal at the ISA World Surfing Games on its home soil in Lima. That year, Peru’s Gabriel Villaran finished second in the Open Men division.

The following year, in 2011, Peru proved that its recent success was no fluke. The National Team won a gold medal at the ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, led by a gold-medal-winning individual performance by wunderkind Cristobal De Col. Miguel Tudela and Carlos Zapata finished 4th and 6th, respectively, behind their fellow countryman. That championship team will be competing alongside Villaran at the ISA China Cup.

In the Open Women, the Peruvians today announced that 2004 ISA and ASP Women’s World Champion Sofia Mulanovich will join the team, which will also include ISA veteran Anali Gomez, who hopes to appear on the podium of an ISA World Championship event for the first time.

“Our team is ready for the event; they’re international athletes so they know how to remain in-form wherever they travel,” said Karín Sierralta, the Executive Director of the Peruvian Federation (FES) and an ISA Vice President. “Their spirits are high and they really want to win the event because they know the ISA China Cup will become a surfing classic.”

While Venezuela hasn’t yet experienced the joy of winning ISA gold, it has achieved a monumental climb in the rankings in recent years. In 2008, Team Venezuela finished 21st at the ISA World Surfing Games. Last year, at the ISA World Surfing Games in Panama, the team finished 6th. That season, Rafael Pereira had his best showing in ISA competition, finishing 6th in the Open Men division. Competing alongside Pereira for Team Venezuela will be Justin Mujica, who lives most of the year in Portugal, but was born in Venezuela. Mujica won a European surfing championship in 2004.

“Our team is ready for this tough competition and we’re also amped about going to such an interesting country,” said Antonio Sotillo, the President of the Venezuelan Surfing Federation. “It’s great to have an event in China. It’s a huge step forward for the global growth of the sport, and I believe this will help us get our sport into the Olympics. Regarding our team, I know we’re going to be facing the best of the best, but I think we can show a great level of surfing and keep climbing, making our way to the top.”

Rounding out the Venezuelan roster in the Open Men will be one of the most decorated Latin American surfers of all time, Magnum Martinez, and David Diaz, a WQS warrior and an accomplished aerialist. Martinez won the 2004 ALAS Latin Pro Championship crown and has appeared on the cover of Surfer Magazine.

In the Open Women, Nataly Alvarez and Yocelyn Aldana both have recent 13th-place finishes at the ISA World Surfing Games that they will be hoping to improve upon in order to help Team Venezuela secure a medal for the first time.

“Peru and Venezuela are strong teams with plenty of improvements in the last few years,” said ISA President Fernando Aguerre. “These two teams made it from mid-ranking positions to a consistent top 10 in every recent ISA event. Depending on how the conditions are at Riyue Bay lefts, we could see them fighting for the top spots on the podium.”

In addition to Peru and Venezuela, the other invited National Teams slated to contend for the ISA China Cup are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, France, South Africa and the USA.

The Hainan Wanning Riyue Bay International Surfing Festival Presented by Quiksilver begins on January 7 with the ISA traditional Opening Ceremony, which includes a Parade of the Nations and the Sands of the World Ceremony, to be held at the Le Meridian Hotel in the city of Wanning, Hainan Island, China.

Following the ISA China Cup, the Hainan Classic, an ASP Men’s 4-Star with a $ 95,000 USD prize-purse, will take place from January 11 to 14, and will feature some of the best surfers in the world.

Registration for the Hainan Classic is open now on www.aspaustralasia.com.

ISA China Cup Peru National Team
Open Men

Gabriel Villaran
Cristobal De Col
Miguel Tudela
Carlos Zapata

Open Women
Sofia Mulanovich
Anali Gomez

Team Officials
Gabriel Aramburu
Karin Sierralta

ISA China Cup Venezuela National Team
Open Men
Justin Mujica
Rafael Pereira
David Diaz
Magnum Martinez

Open Women
Yocelyn Aldana
Nataly Alvarez

Team Officials
Heriberto Tinoco
Luis Rovero

The events will be webcasted live on www.hainaninternationalsurfingfestival.com beginning January 7 and until the final day, January 14.

About the International Surfing Association:

The International Surfing Association (ISA), founded in 1964, is recognized by the International Olympic Committee as the World Governing Authority for Surfing. The ISA governs and defines Surfing as Shortboard, Longboard & Bodyboarding, StandUp Paddle (SUP) Racing and Surfing, Para Surfing, Bodysurfing, Wakesurfing, and all other wave riding activities on any type of waves, and on flat water using wave riding equipment. The ISA crowned its first Men’s and Women’s World Champions in 1964. It crowned the first Big Wave World Champion in 1965; World Junior Champion in 1980; World Kneeboard Champions in 1982; World Longboard Surfing and World Bodyboard Champions in 1988; World Tandem Surfing Champions in 2006; World Masters Champions in 2007; World StandUp Paddle (SUP, both surfing and racing) and Paddleboard Champions in 2012; and World Para Surfing Champions in 2015.

ISA membership includes the surfing National Federations of 108 countries on five continents. The ISA is presided over by Fernando Aguerre (ARG). The Executive Committee includes four Vice-Presidents Karín Sierralta (PER), Kirsty Coventry (ZIM), Casper Steinfath (DEN) and Barbara Kendall (NZL), Athletes’ Commission Chair Justine Dupont (FRA), Regular Members Atsushi Sakai (JPN) and Jean Luc Arassus (FRA) and ISA Executive Director Robert Fasulo as Ex-officio Member.

Its headquarters are located in La Jolla, California (USA).