The World Surf League (WSL) Copa El Salvador Impresionante Women's QS6000 presented by Body Glove completed Round 1 in its entirety with beautiful, four-to-six foot swell pumping through Punta Roca, La Libertad. The opening heats received the day's pristine conditions as competitors put on a showcase of high-performance surfing. The competition was called off after the completion of Round 1 with the winds turning unfavorable, but not before the spectators were treated to excellent scores and picturesque waves.
Former WSL World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) took full advantage in Round 1, Heat 4, and posted the day's highest heat total of 16.00 (out of a possible 20). The Peruvian is back on tour after a leave of absence and was on cloud nine coming out of her heat. Finding two gems of the morning, Mulanovich is ecstatic with the chance to surf in quality waves.
"I've been surfing in nearly all the QS events this year and the waves haven't been too great so this is a real treat," Mulanovich said. "I've been away from tour for a few years so it's difficult starting in the early rounds and the hassle of getting on the best waves in smaller conditions. But, when we get waves like this and it's so dreamy there really isn't a hassle with priority and having the ability to choose from a number of great waves. To flow with a wave from the bottom to the top is such a good feeling and I'm just really happy to surf out there."
Advancing under Mulanvoich in that heat, Australiasia Junior Tour Champion Macy Callaghan (AUS) posted an excellent 8.27 (out of a possible 10) of her own and kept the 2004 World Champion on her toes. Callaghan couldn't find the waves she needed in Los Cabos and was eliminated in Round 5 , losing her No. 10 ranking on the QS. However, with the conditions on hand the Australian is looking strong and confident on her forehand.
"I've never been here so I was so excited to get out there for the first time," Callaghan said. "To get waves like that was incredible. I'm amazed at this place with the warm water and beautiful waves here -- I'm just taking it all in. Being a regular footer, this wave is perfect and after my bad result in Mexico to get a big score like that was great. It was a real confidence booster going forward."
Posting the day's highest single-scoring wave of an 8.93, Rina Kitazawa (JPN) was looking like a Punta Roca veteran in her first-ever competition here. The 22-year-old hasn't been to El Salvador before and is finding her comfort zone far from her home of Japan.
"It was amazing out there with so many great waves, I couldn't believe it," Kitazawa said. "Experiencing this wave and the surrounding area has been incredible. I've been competing on the QS for four or five years and have an idea of how it all works so I'm just excited to be here. Getting that high score was an amazing feeling and I really can't wait to surf more throughout this contest."
Posting her own excellent score, Leilani McGonagle (CRI) won the opening heat of the day -- earning an 8.27 in the process. The Costa Rican is still a competitor on the Junior Tour and showing she is trying to get prepared for the next step of her career. Taking on some of the world's best female surfers, McGonagle is excited to get waves after a few results that didn't go her way in smaller conditions.
As Round 1 progressed, the onshore wind picked up and made conditions more challenging. Still having some of the size and force, Camilla Kemp (PRT) was able to progress through with a heat win and get a chance at the dreamy conditions she witnessed earlier in the day.
"I was watching the whole morning and it looked really clean out there but with the wind it got really bumpy," Kemp said. "It made it difficult to get some solid turns off the lip but I was just trying to stay confident on my feet and not risk going out the back. There weren't too many good ones coming through at the end so I wanted to take full advantage."
"Everyone was so excited to get here and it's been so good every day," Kemp added. "We've been surfing as many hours as we can and I'm hoping conditions stay the same. We're all really excited on the swell that's here and just want to keep surfing."
Tomorrow's 7:30am MDT Call will determine an 8am MDT Start as the women will be treated to more phenomenal conditions. Tune in live for all the action at www.worldsurfleague.com , or download the WSL App , and get all the information from this year's Copa El Salvador Impresionante.