- WSL / Kevin Moncayo

The event winners of the World Surf League (WSL) QS 1000 Copa Sails of Change Galapagos will be decided on Saturday at the reefbreak known as La Loberia on the island of San Cristobal as part of the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador. The winners will take the lead in the WSL South America 2023/24 regional rankings. Ecuadorian surfers Dominic Barona (ECU) and Maximiliano Saenz (ECU) are the hometown favorites but have a steep hill to climb facing such opponents as Arena Rodriguez Vargas (PER), Sophia Medina (BRA) in the women's division and Alonso Correa (PER) and Daniel Adisaka (BRA) in the men's division.

Dominic Barona is the biggest name in Ecuadorian surfing. Her resumé includes being a two-time WSL South America Champion, as well as representing her country in the inaugural inclusion of surfing in the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. She will now face a fellow regional champion in Sophia Medina for a spot in the Finals on Saturday.

Dominic Barona Dominic Barona (ECU) is the hometown favorite in Galapagos. - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

"I'm so happy to be at this event with all my friends," said Barona. "To see everyone competing together motivates me even more. I spend a lot of time traveling to compete at events around the world and have their support from a long distance, so these moments with everyone together are very special. I've been feeling good here, surfing well, but I just need a bit more courage when I see those rocks popping up on the inside. But I got the job done today and I hope for a good result tomorrow."

In Semifinal Heat 2, Arena Rodriguez Vargas will face up-and-coming Brazilian Julia Duarte (BRA). Following WSL standards, the Copa Sails of Change Galapagos will distribute equal prize money. In the inaugural edition in 2022, Peruvians Miguel Tudela (PER) and Sol Aguirre (PER) took out the event. Neither are competing this year, but Vargas and Correa still have a chance to maintain Peruvian supremacy in the Galapagos.

Sophia Medina Sophia Medina (BRA) will face Barona in the Semifinals of the Copa Sails of Change Galapagos. - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

Alonso Correa has been the standout surfer since the beginning of the event, displaying speed, power and flow in every wave he surfs at La Loberia. In his first heat of the day, he obtained an excellent heat score of a 16.50 (out of a possible 20 points) from an 8.00 and an 8.50 on his best waves.

In the Quarterfinals, Correa continued his precise execution, winning a close fought battle against Ecuadorian Alex Suarez (ECU) by a score of 14.50 to 13.50 respectively. Correa will now face Saenz in Heat 1 of the men's Semifinals.

Alonso Correa Alonso Correa (PER) hopes to take a lead in the regional rankings with a victory at the Copa Sails of Change Galapagos. - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

"The waves have been great today and I'm happy that I could get good scores in all my heats," said Correa. "It feels great to make it to Finals Day, especially against such good competition. Today was hard on the body though, the waves here are powerful and I had to do a lot of paddling. So now I'm going to rest up, get something to eat and prepare myself for tomorrow."

Heat 2 of the Semifinals will be an all-Brazilian affair with young surfers Daniel Adisaka (BRA) coming up against Samuel Joquinha (BRA). The newest generation of Brazilian talent is looking to snatch a quick lead in the regional rankings with the hopes of qualifying onto the 2023 WSL Challenger Series.

Copa Sails of Change Galápagos Some of the local wildlife from the Galapagos Islands. - WSL / Angel Ortiz

A call is set for 9:00 AM (GMT-6) for continuation of the WSL QS 1000 Copa Sails of Change Galapagos. Watch all the action LIVE at WorldSurfLeague.com

The Swiss organization "Sails of Change" will promote various educational activities on environmental preservation during the event on San Cristóbal Island. The second edition of the Sails of Change QS 1000 Galápagos Cup takes place thanks to the support of Sails of Change, El Club Formativo San Cristóbal, CNT, GAD San Cristóbal, Ministerio de Deporte, the Consejo de Governo de Régimen Especial, Universidad San Francisco, Naturegua and GEA.

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