- WSL / Mariano Antunez

The World Surf League (WSL) Men's and Women's QS 1000 Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande concluded in spectacular fashion with Alejo Muniz (BRA) defeating Alonso Correa (PER) by a score of 18.40 to 17.35 and Daniella Rosas (PER) overcoming Arena Rodriguez (PER) by a 17.10 to 11.00 total in pumping conditions on Finals Day in Mar del Plata, Argentina. With their victories today, Muniz and Rosas take the lead in the WSL South America 2022/23 Region Rankings.

Conditions improved dramatically on Saturday with offshore winds and waves in the 3-5 foot range at the jetty known as Biologia, at Playa Grande. The low temperatures generated an early morning fog, but as it lifted, the Women's division took to the water in the first heats of the day.

Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande - WSL / Mariano Antunez

Saturday began with Rosas defeating 17-year-old sensation Kiany Hyakutake (BRA), who eliminated two-time event winner Dominic Barona (ECU) in the Quarterfinals, while Rodriguez took out Karol Ribeiro (BRA) in the Semifinals.

In the Women's Final, Rosas matched up against her fellow Peruvian, Rodriguez, as the perfect sets rolled in, to the delight of the crowded beach of avid Argentinian surf fans. Rosas and Rodriguez have both qualified for the WSL 2022 Challenger Series, but Rosas displayed her powerful backside surfing on the lefthanders, earning an 8.50 and an 8.60 on her two best rides for a 17.10 total, becoming the two-time Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande Champion and establishing the highest scoring records of the event in the Women's division.

"Conditions are completely different in comparison to the event I won in 2019. That year the waves were really small and if I remember correctly, I won with a 5.90 total," remarked Rosas. "That was my first time here. Now that I know it a little better, I arrived with more confidence, especially after winning the event in Brazil last week. I'd like to thank everyone in Peru that has been supporting me, especially my family and sponsors, without them I wouldn't be at the level that I'm at professionally," added Rosas.

Daniella Rosas Daniella Rosas (PER) became a two-time event winner at the Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande. - WSL / Mariano Antunez

In the Men's division, another veteran Peruvian surfer, Alonso Correa (PER) reached the Finals, eliminating hometown favorite Santiago Muniz (ARG) earlier in the day in a highly disputed Semifinals with Correa winning by a score of 15.35 to 14.00 respectively. On the other side of the draw, Santiago's older brother and former Championship Tour (CT) athlete, Alejo Muniz (BRA), was able to defeat an in-form Gabriel André (BRA).

Correa began the final with solid scores of a 6.00 followed by an 8.00 to take a quick lead. Alejo Muniz, who suffered a knee injury in the Semis, was unaffected, putting together a fantastic ride of vertical frontside hacks to receive a 9.00 from the judges.

Shortly after, Muniz paddled into one of the largest sets of the day, blasting a righthander with consecutive vertical snaps and an additional cutback into the inside section for a 9.40, for a phenomenal 18.70 heat total. The only heat score higher than that, was provided by the 2019 WSL World Champion Italo Ferreira (BRA), who scored an 18.70 total in the 2014 edition of the event in Argentina.

A visibly emotional Muniz left the water as the final buzzer sounded and was chaired up the beach on the shoulders of his brother Santiago and their support crew in Mar del Plata, where both were born.

"I'm just overcome with emotion right now because this is such a special victory for me," Muniz conveyed. "I was born here, but this is the first time I've ever competed here. It's been a long-time dream for me and my family. So, to win here, after all this time, is an incredible feeling, not just for me, but for the whole crowd. I injured my knee in the Semifinals, but the energy I received from my friends and family here gave me that added push to get through the Final," added Muniz.

Alejo Muniz Alejo Muniz (BRA) being chaired up by his supporters at the Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande in Mar del Plata, Argentina. - WSL / Mariano Antunez

It was Muniz' sixth victory on the WSL Qualifying Series (QS), with the prior win coming seven years ago at the QS 10,000 in Ballito in South Africa. Muniz has also had illustrious victories at the US Open in 2013, the 2011 Hang Loose Pro Contest in Fernando de Noronha and the Estoril Quiksilver Pro in Portugal.

"I also want to congratulate Alonso (Correa), who pushed me to the limit, making me surf my best in the Final," continued Muniz. "Now I really want to take advantage and soak in this moment because next week we've got another event in Brazil. It's time to enjoy this feeling with my friends and family because there's not much time before the next one."

Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande Celebration on the awards podium surrounding Alejo Muniz (BRA) at the Rip Curl Pro Playa Grande in Mar del Plata, Argentina. - WSL / Mariano Antunez
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