Video Credits: Adam Brown / Jose Plaza / Camila Toro
13-year-old Daniella Rosas, protégé of the Proyecto Sofia Mulanovich coaching program supported by Swatch, made history today by charging solid 15ft waves at Peru’s fabled big wave break, Pico Alto.
With a thick South Pacific swell lighting up the coast under perfect autumnal conditions, Daniella 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 – paddle surfing big waves.
“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 in to getting the kids ready really paid off. They charged.”
Peruvian charger and Hawaiian Triple Crown stand-out Gabriel Villaran has been coaching and offering specialised training with the kids specifically for heavy surf, including APNEA, safety, big wave training and board selection specifically for days like today. “The course we’ve been conducting with the kids is more about understanding everything around big waves and not just surfing them. We have been focused on safety, breathing, equipment, analysing conditions, mental state and respect for the ocean. I was surprised and impressed with how well the kids responded,” said Villaran.
With only a handful of women ever taking on Pico Alto previously, Daniella became the youngest of them to ever tackle the break, catching a number of rides. “Peruvians are known for surfing big waves and I am honored to now be amongst them. 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 pro 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 Daniella showed why women’s surfing has a bright future, as boundaries continue to be pushed.