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ASP Cestari © Covered ImagesI was surfing Lobitos, in northern Peru, this past Sunday when Sofia Mulanovich paddled into the line-up. (Photo ASP Cestari © Covered Images.)

Sounds great, right? Must be fun to watch a champ up close, and pick up some tips. Sofia is a bit of an idol in Peru, and is plastered all over billboards for cell phone companies and the like. In 2004, she won three out of the six World Championship Tour events and finished the season as World Champion. She is sponsored by Roxy and the Spanish cell phone company Movistar, among others.

Well, the experience caused dismay. Lobitos is a fantastic wave, a fast left that was working nicely at chest to head high, and wasn’t too crowded. There were plenty of waves to go around, people were behaving themselves, and it was especially fun to see a couple of Peruvians and Brazilians guys ripping like I have never seen before.

Then Sofia showed up. On her first wave, she dropped in on me. I figured it was a random act of rudeness – until I saw her steal dozens of waves over the next two hours from virtually everyone else in the line-up. There was no reason to do this. People were eager to watch her surf and were otherwise happy to make space for her in the water. But she insisted on snaking people. I told my Peruvian friends about this and they said: “Yeah, well, that’s Peru, you have to be aggressive or somebody else will steal your wave.” Maybe. Snakes abound here. But you’d think her sponsors and public relations handlers would have passed along some general guidelines for behavior: like “don’t drop in on people, because if you do it repeatedly without apologizing people will think you are a snot, rude, or just clueless and it will reflect poorly on us. You need to be an ambassador for the sport.”

Well, she either feels like rules don’t apply to her or that all etiquette should be suspended when she goes into the water because she’s extra special.

That’s no way to be a champion, or are you a spoiled sport? Come on Sofia, show some class!

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