- Alyssa Roenigk, ESPN The Magazine senior writer
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[Ed.'s Note: Our resident action sports writer Alyssa Roenigk just moved to LA. While she's out there she'll be sending us regular updates on the scene.]
Every time we turn around, it seems another action sports athlete is turning 21. (They grow up so fast!) The occasion is usually marked with an over-the-top party at some one-word-named Vegas hotspot paid for by a doting energy-beverage sponsor. Unless you're snowboarder Kevin Pearce, who turned the big 2-1 on 11-1. Then you grab a small group of your BFFs—including your brother Adam and fellow halfpipe heavy Danny Davis—pay tribute to the ghosts of snowboarding's past by dressing up as 80's ski racers for Halloween and then fly to Nevada (no, not there) to catch Neil Young at the Reno Events Center. "My birthday was amazing," Pearce says. "Every day of it." (It was tough to get much more out of him. He's still recovering.) It's a good thing Pearce skipped the Oct. 30 show closer to his Carlsbad home, though. Because so did Young.
HEART OF GOLD
Snowboarder Hannah Teter is quickly becoming the Angelina Jolie of action sports (minus all the kids). After donating her 2006 Olympic prize money to World Vision, Teter started her own philanthropic organization, called Hannah's Gold, which raises money for various projects in Kenya by selling bottles of Vermont maple syrup. So far, Teter has quietly raised nearly $50,000 and recently flew to Africa to see how her funds were being put to use. She checked in with us this week, after returning from her trip. (Look for more of Hannah's photos in an upcoming issue of The Mag) …
"I am already missing the good vibes of all the friends we made in Kirindon, Kenya. They were so incredible. The song and dance welcoming us to the schools made my heart light up. We got to see all the good the donations from Hannah's Gold has done, like help put an addition on one of the rundown schools and install a well so the kids don't have to walk for miles to access water." —Hannah.
Peruvian surfer Sofia Mulanovich, the 2004 world champion and the current world No. 1, ranks just above (okay, way above) President Allan Garcia and just (slightly) below the sport of soccer on the popularity rankings in her home country. She was the first (and still only) Peruvian world champion—in any sport—and the first South American (male or female) to win the world surfing title. In Peru, she is a celebrity of the Jen Anniston/Michael Jordan/Mother Teresa variety and is adored in a way that is tough to fathom in the U.S., a nation rich with world champions and sports celebrities.
Which is why, Monday morning at the second-annual Movistar Classic in Mancora, Peru, Mulanovich's celebrity necessitated a security-guard escort to the water on the first day of competition. Hundreds of screaming fans—mostly women and children—showed up early in the morning carrying handmade signs and hoping simply to catch a glimpse of Mulanovich as she walked by them. The mayor of Mancora, the tiny fishing village in northern Peru where Mulanovich grew up surfing, presented her with a gold filigree key to the city and a marching band began to play when she arrived at the beach. "I am overwhelmed," Mulanovich said to the crowd, in Spanish. "I am so grateful for your support. Mancora has a special place in my heart." Mulanovich then apologized to the children for not being able to sign autographs, as she had to go into the water and surf. She won her heat and cruised into the quarterfinals.
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