There was little doubt as to the Peruvian surfers' supremacy on their own turf. The question was - who would come out on top? That question was answered on Saturday as Miguel Tudela (PER) won the Men's QS 1,000 Rip Curl Pro and Anali Gomez (PER) took home the title at the Women's QS 1,000 Jeep Pro in arduous conditions at Peñascal in San Bartolo, Peru.
As the top seed in the event, Miguel Tudela was seen as the favorite to win the contest after having won in 2012 - the last time a Men's Qualifying Series competition took place in Peru. Anali Gomez has a powerful surfing style that sets her apart in heavy conditions and was suited perfectly to the 6-foot plus sets (2+ meters) that were on offer throughout the event at Peñascal.
With their victories today, both athletes received 1,000 points valid towards the 2017 WSL Qualifying Series Rankings as well as an additional 1,000 WSL South America Regional points. Gomez sits alone in first place in the women's regional rankings with 1,560 points, while Tudela is tied with Thiago Camarão (BRA) with 1,000 points in the men's division.
Becoming one of the seven WSL Regional Champions has added incentive now that each will be automatically seeded into all QS 10,000 and QS 6,000 events in 2018.
In the Men's Final, Tudela's surfing was fluid and powerful in the challenging conditions leaving little opportunity for his opponents. After earning a 7.00 on one of the few lefthanders on offer at Peñascal, Tudela showed his explosive, vertical attack on his backhand scoring a 7.75 to guarantee his victory with a 14.75 total.
Gabriel Andre (BRA) was runner-up with a total of 7.50 points, while Joaquin Del Castillo (PER) and Adrian Garcia finished in 3rd and 4th place respectively with 7.50 (due to a lower high-score) and 3.65 at the Rip Curl San Bartolo Peru.
In the women's division, the finalists had already been decided on Thursday at the QS 1,000 Jeep Pro San Bartolo Peru. Up until then, Dominic Barona (ECU) was the regional rankings leader after winning the Rip Curl Pro Argentina in Mar del Plata.
Barona made her way to the Finals alongside standout surfers Anali Gomez, Vania Torres (PER) and Hawaiian surfer Bailey Nagy. But, Gomez put on a clinic by displaying her powerful rail-game and go-for-it attitude in the overhead conditions. She stayed calm under pressure, catching the best waves and surfing them with power on her backhand for an 11.50 total.
Nagy, the young Hawaiian looked comfortable throughout the contest and took home 2nd place. The stylish Peruvian Vania Torres came in 3rd place, while Dominic Barona finished in 4th, relinquishing the lead in the rankings to Gomez.
The next stop on the Men's WSL South America QS Surfing Series is the Maui and Sons Arica Pro, which begins on Monday, July 17 at the world-class barreling wave of El Gringo, in Arica, Chile.