- WSL / Kevin Moncayo

Miguel Tudela (PER) defeated Ryan Kainalo (BRA) in a high-scoring Men's Final and Sol Aguirre (PER) took out local hero Dominic Barona (ECU) in pumping conditions at the inaugural World Surf League (WSL) Men's and Women's QS 1000 Copa Sails of Change Galápagos on the lefthand pointbreak of Tongo Reef on the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador.

Kainalo had been on a rampage throughout the week and on Saturday, the 16-year-old Brazilian added to his list of high scores with a 9.40 and an 8.75 during the Quarterfinals against Rodrigo Saldanha (BRA). Kainalo advanced against Vitor Ferreira (BRA) in the Semifinals before facing an in-form Tudela in the Finals.

Tudela had been flying under the radar at Tongo Reef, advancing steadily, but left his best performances for Finals Day. Tudela beat Gabriel Andre (BRA) in the Quarterfinals and was then matched up against fellow Olympian, Manuel Selman (CHL) in the Semifinals. Tudela began with an 8.35 and followed that with an excellent 8.50. However, Tudela took his surfing to the next level and boosted a huge frontside Kerrupt Flip and additional powerful snaps down the line to earn a perfect 10-point ride and an 18.50 heat total.

Miguel Tudela Miguel Tudela (PER) during his perfect 10-point ride which included a Kerrupt Flip at Tongo Reef at the Copa Sails of Change Galápagos. - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

In the Men's Final, Kainalo got off to a hot start with scores of an 8.90 and 7.50 for a 16.40 total, but it was Tudela, the veteran competitor from Peru, who took to the air once again, landing a perfect air-reverse to earn a 9.50 plus an excellent 8.00 backup score for a 17.50 total and his first victory of the season.

"I'm stoked with this victory, but it was a really hard Final against Ryan. He had a great start, but I was able to regain composure, I found the right waves and I stuck that air for the high score (9.50)," said Tudela. "It's a great feeling to get a win on the QS again, especially in such a beautiful place like this and with world-class waves all week long. I want to give a shout out to everyone that's been supporting me and a special thank you to my mom and all the mothers out there because tomorrow is Mother's Day," declared Tudela.

Ryan Kainalo Ryan Kainalo at Tongo Reef. - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

Despite his Runner-Up finish, Kainalo was pleased with his performance at the Copa Sails of Change in Galapagos.

"I'm really happy with this result because it's so hard to do well against such talented athletes on the QS," said Kainalo. "It was really special to make the Final here in Galapagos, it's such an incredible place and the waves have been epic. There are still a bunch of contests left in the season, so it's great to get off to a good start."

Men's Podium Men's Podium (from left): Vitor Ferreira (BRA), Ryan Kainalo (BRA), Miguel Tudela (PER) and Manuel Selman (CHL). - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

In the Women's division, Sol Aguirre was unstoppable on the long lefthanders at Tongo Reef. In her Semifinal against Isabela Saldanha (BRA), Aguirre only surfed three waves, earning a 9.00 on the first, a 7.50 on her second and an 8.35 which remained as her backup score for a 17.35 total, resulting in the highest heat total of the WSL South America 2021/2022 season so far.

In the other Semifinal, 2-time WSL South America Champion and representative for Ecuador at the 2020 Olympics in Japan, Dominic Barona (ECU) had the full support of the crowd in Galapagos. Barona defeated fellow Ecuadorian Genesis Garcia (ECU) by a score of 11.50 to 9.75 respectively before facing Aguirre in the Final.

However, Aguirre used precise backside surfing and powerful finishing maneuvers at Tongo Reef to earn her first-ever victory on the WSL Qualifying Series by a final score of 15.25 to Barona's 9.90 total.

"I can't believe it, I'm so excited to win my fist ever contest on the QS. It's been an incredible week and I just felt so lucky to be connected to these waves, all these great athletes and to be in the Final with Mimi (Dominic Barona)," said Aguirre. "Just to be here in such a beautiful country and visit so many amazing places has been a blessing. In the Semifinal I didn't want to think too far ahead, but once I made it to the Final, I really focused on my surfing so I could get this first win of my career on the Qualifying Series. I want to send a big thank you to all my fans and supporters, my sponsors and a special thank you to my family that's been showing so much love and support during my career," said an emotional Aguirre from the winner's podium.

Women's Podium Women's Podium (from left): Isabela Saldanha (BRA), Dominic Barona (ECU), Sol Aguirre (PER) and Genesis Garcia (ECU). - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

Upon conclusion, the Copa Sails of Change Galapagos QS 1000 shook up the WSL South America regional rankings. Being his first event of the season, Tudela jumped straight into 5th place on the rankings with his 1000-point result in Galapagos. Santiago Muniz (ARG) remains in 1st place and Ryan Kainalo (BRA) and Gabriel Andre (BRA) are tied in 2nd second place.

In the Women's rankings, Dominic Barona (ECU) is currently tied in 1st place with Daniella Rosas (PER), while Sol Aguirre (PER) is tied in 3rd place alongside Tainá Hinckel (BRA).

The next stop of the WSL South America 2021/22 season is the Men's and Women's QS 1000 Circuito Banco do Brasil de Surfe at Praia de Stella Maris in Salvador, Bahia in Brazil from May 12 - 15, before a quick turnaround to the Men's and Women's QS 3000 Quiksilver and Roxy Iquique Pro which will also include the first Pro Junior contests of the season. For more information, please visit WorldSurfLeague.com

The World Surf League Men's and Women's QS 1000 Copa Sails of Change Galapagos is presented by Special Council for the Galapagos Islands and the City of San Cristobál. The event will distribute equal prize money as well as 1000 points valid on the WSL South America rankings. For full results, hi-def photos and daily highlights, visit WorldSurfLeague.com

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