- WSL / Kevin Moncayo

The World Surf League (WSL) Copa Sails of Change Galapagos QS 1000 was completed in pumping conditions at La Loberia. To the delight of the hometown crowd, Ecuadorian surfer Dominic Barona (ECU) won the first Qualifying Season (QS) event of the WSL South America 2023/24 season against Peruvian Arena Vargas Rodriguez (PER). In the men's division, the standout surfer of the event, Alonso Correa (PER) had a spectacular victory in the Final over Daniel Adisaka (BRA). Both event winners now sit in first place on the regional rankings.

Barona has a storied career, including being a two-time WSL South America Champion, as well as representing Ecuador in the inaugural surfing competition at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan. This year, Barona is also set to compete on the WSL 2023 Challenger Series, the only pathway to the elite level of the Championship Tour (CT).

This is the second time Barona has made it to the Finals at the Copa Sails of Change Galapagos. Last year Barona was defeated by Sol Aguirre (PER), but on Saturday, Barona claimed her first victory of 2023 over fiery Arena Vargas Rodriguez in the Final.

Rodriguez got off to a quick start in the Final, earning a 6.25 on a lefthander. Barona countered on a solid righthand wave and executed a series of vertical backside maneuvers for a 6.10. Both surfers went back and forth with mid-range scores until Barona scratched into a large set wave, followed with a drawn-out bottom turn and blasted the section for a huge one-turn section and received the highest score of the Final with a 6.90. Rodriguez was able to catch one last wave before the heat concluded, but ended up coming short by a final score of13.00 to 12.25 in Barona's favor.

Dominic Barona Dominic Barona (ECU) being chaired up the beach after winning the Copa Sails of Change QS 1000 in Galapagos. - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

"Arena has been surfing great and is a solid competitor that really knows what she's doing in a heat," said Barona. "But I was able to maintain my calm and knew that big, powerful maneuvers were getting good scores. Honestly, I'm so thankful for this win. It's always been a dream of mine to win an event at home. San Cristobal is an amazing place. So to do this in front of all the Ecuadorian fans and everyone hear is incredible and I'm extremely happy."

With her win today, Barona now sits in first place on the WSL South America rankings, but has even larger goals ahead that include the WSL Challenger Series and qualification for the 2024 Olympic Games in France, which will feature the surfing competition at the powerful reefbreak known as Teahupo'o in Tahiti.

Arena Rodriguez Arena Vargas Rodriguez (PER) in the Final of the Copa Sails of Change Galapagos. - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

"Galapagos provided us with incredible waves, a big thanks to all of the event organizers and everyone for supporting this event," continued Barona. "I've been training really hard and getting ready for the upcoming Challenger Series season as well as the qualifier at the Pan American Games. But today, I just want to enjoy this win and I'm so thankful that I get to do what I love as a profession," concluded Barona.

Dominic Barona Dominic Barona (ECU) currently leads the regional rankings with her victory at the Copa Sails of Change Galapagos - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

Curiously, Barona and men's event winner, Alonso Correa, have not won a QS event since 2018. Coincidentally, their victories came at the same event, in San Bartolo, Peru.


Alonso Correa was by far the surfer that stood out the most at La Loberia during the event window. He earned the highest scores and highest heat totals in every round he surfed. Correa earned a slew of excellent scoring rides in every day of competition and still had plenty in the tank in the Men's Final against Daniel Adisaka.

Correa displayed seamless surfing with explosive frontside maneuvers, spraying buckets of water after each turn. The judges gave him an 8.00 on a solid lefthander, then Correa repeated with another spectacular series of maneuvers that earned him an 8.25. Adisaka had been surfing well to reach the Final, but was out of rhythm with the ocean and only obtained mid-range scores and was defeated by a final score of 16.25 to 10.40.

Dominic Barona Alonso Correa (PER) in the Men's Final of the Copa Sails of Change Galapagos. - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

"I'm really happy that I was able to win this event, that was my goal when I decided to come here and it's an incredible feeling to make it happen," said Correa. "The waves are incredible here at La Loberia, this place is simply spectacular and I want to thank everyone that made this event possible. Today conditions got a little tricky, but there were still some solid set waves. You couldn't really tell which ones were going to close out, so I just tried to stay busy and catch as many waves as I could. I'm happy I was able to put it all together and get this great win."

Daniel Adisaka Daniel Adisaka (BRA) in the Men's Final of the Copa Sails of Change Galapagos. - WSL / Kevin Moncayo

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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