Hodge is currently in fourteenth of eighteen places in the coveted surf series, and will hope to repeat if not better her performance in Santander, Spain, where she earned her best finish of the year.
Hodge’s first priority will be to place first or second in the opening heat against Australians Chelsea Hedges (currently ranked fifth) and Jessi Miley-Dyer (ninth) later today.
Meanwhile, Peruvian upstart Anali Gomez emerged victorious on Monday to take out the Local Trials and earn a seed into the Mancora Peru Classic, when she pulled off an impressive display of pointbreak prowess in clean two-to-three foot (1 metre) surf at Mancora.
In its inaugural season as an ASP Women’s World Tour event, the Mancora Peru Classic saw 12 local Peruvian girls battle it out throughout the day for one coveted spot into the main event.
"We started the day with 12 girls vying for a spot in the event, and we’ll see Anali take on the best surfers in the world starting tomorrow," ASP Head Judge Richard Porta said.
"It will be interesting to see what happens as she has gotten a few heats under her belt and, aside from Sofia, the other girls haven’t had too much experience out here. However, the ASP Top 17 are the best in the world so Anali will have her work cut out for her."
Although conditions in the final were inconsistent, the powerful goofy-footer made quick work of the crumbling lefthanders, tearing them apart with style, punch and bite on her forehand.
"I’m super stoked to be in the main event," Gomez said. "The girls were surfing so good today and anyone could have won the Trials. I am very excited to be competing in the main event."
Gomez will now face off against lethal Top 17 members Silvana Lima (BRA) and Claire Bevilacqua (AUS) in Heat 3 of Round 1 tomorrow.
Former ASP World Champion Sofia Mulanovich (PER) has influenced an army of South American surfers, and young Anali Gomez is no exception. Hailing from similar backgrounds, Mulanovich gave Gomez her first surfboard, and the 21-year-old will no do battle as the second Peruvian in history in an ASP Women’s World Tour event.
"I am super stoked for Anali to make it into the event – she was absolutely ripping," Mulanovich said. "I maybe helped her out a bit when she was younger, but now she has her own sponsors and she is an incredible surfer. I think she will do well in the main event because she has so much experience and she’ll be fired up to do well in Peru."
Event Organizers at the Mancora Peru Classic are anticipating swell in the three-to-four foot (1 metre) range throughout the waiting period, and will look to get things underway with Round 1 tomorrow.
"Looking at the week ahead, we’re anticipating some surfing action everyday," ASP Women’s World Tour Manager Brooke Farris said. "The winds are obviously a problem here, so we can expect to see some surfing each morning, and we’ll work on assessing the conditions from there."
The Mancora Peru Classic will begin the official waiting period today, October 30, and will run through November 4, 2007.