With the help of the Proyecto Sofia Mulanovich youth academy, 13-year-old Daniela Rosas made history today after charging solid 15-foot waves at Peru’s fabled big-wave break, Pico Alto. With a thick South Pacific swell lighting up the coast under perfect autumnal conditions, Daniela and fellow kids were offered the perfect opportunity to put the skills honed at Proyecto Sofia Mulanovich to the test in the most challenging of environments.
“We have been preparing since the start of the project for this day,” said former World Champion Sofia Mulanovich. “All the time, effort and patience that went into getting the kids ready really paid off. They charged.”
Peruvian charger and Hawaiian Triple Crown standout Gabriel Villaran has been coaching man of the children, offering specialized training, including breathing techniques, safety, big-wave training, and board selection.
“The course we’ve been conducting with the kids is more about understanding everything around big waves and not just surfing them,” said Villaran. “We have been focused on safety, breathing, equipment, analyzing conditions, mental state, and respect for the ocean. I was surprised and impressed with how well the kids responded.”
While only a handful of women can claim to have taken on Pico Alto, Daniela became the youngest of them to ever tackle the break. “Peruvians are known for surfing big waves and I am honored to now be amongst them,” said Daniela. “There were good waves and it was crowded, but this gave me the confidence that I could do it. Once I got my first wave all the fear and nerves were gone, and I was excited to get my next one.”
While the Sofia Mulanovich Proyecto aims to take promising Peruvian youth talent and offer them the tools and resources to help make their professional surfing dreams a reality, focusing on skills needed for a successful competitive World Tour career, sponsorship, and professionalism, the icing on the cake was seeing their talents come to the fore in headline-grabbing surf conditions. Paddling big waves remains the ultimate skill set in a modern surf career, and Daniela showed why women’s surfing has a bright future.