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Jeremy Flores Wins The 2015 Billabong Pro, Tahiti

Words by Damien Fahrenfort

Jeremy Flores just beat Gabriel Medina in the final of the Billabong Pro, Tahiti. The final scoreline was J-Flo: 16.87, Gabs: 13.20. After a lackluster start to the event, Chopes has risen; offering up hollow meat for the top cats to dine on. ADS still has the Jeep leader jersey. Jeremy and Gabs put on an incredible performance throughout the event. While the WSL has had a tough year waves wise, they've managed to pull it off. And as usual, the finals are always a little bit of a let down. While I had predicted Gabs to win I don't mind being wrong when it comes to Mr Flores.

Jeremy Flores is one of the best tube riders of all time. I'm talking like JJF/Slater/JOB good. That side swipe down the face to fins locked was incredible. His positioning timing and everything else is as good as it gets. Bar those three guys he might be the next best of all time. He's a Pipe Master and now Billabong Pro Tahiti winner! That's gotta be a sweet little fuck you to the WSL for banning him from the contest last year. “Gabriel's one really tactical guy so I thought I’m going to play his game,” said J-Flo. “He’s really aggressive in the water so I thought I’m going to be even more aggressive. Hats off to him, he’s surfed amazing all event and that was definitely one of the hardest heats. That 9.87 in the Final was the wave that got things started for me,” continued Jeremy. “I was sitting out there getting nervous, waiting for waves. I reminded myself that even if I lost the heat I’m the luckiest guy in the world to be out here. I just tried to stay calm.”

FILIPE SAD copy 0.00, poor Filipe. Did you know? An integral part to winning heats is catching waves. Well, luckily for Mr Toledo here, Trestles is just round the bend. Photo: WSL/Kelly Cestari

Bruno what happened? And Felipe, you forgot to catch a wave sirOne of the best tube riders in the world and past event winner fell off on two waves that easily would have had him through to the Quarters. He was looking good and then all of a sudden blew two bombs. And Felipe, what happened there? Now I'm not claiming he was scared but at the very least, ride one wave! Even a close out, or that one you pulled back on... Critics are harsh over here.

Italo Ferreira and Wiggoly Dantes are here to stay. Both gents put on a good performance. The duo joing the part of the Brazilian storm that aren't afraid to charge. Coming into Lowers both these guys will do well, so it could be a battle to the end for the rookie of the year. What I like about these guys is both their approaches differ. Wiggles is a bit more drawn out and calculated and Italo has that go for it attitude.

Owen Wright! Could this guy be world champ? I think so, I didn't see it at the beginning of the year, but fuck; he's here now. It looks like he's having a lot of fun in his heats and he's more calculated than ever. After J-Bay through a bump in the road, Owen came back strong and finished third. He's in good position for the title, I think he and Mick will be battling it out. Good thing for Mick is no sharks at Lowers... “I wasn’t even really thinking about the ratings lead, I was just reveling in getting another heat out at Teahupo’o, especially with my good friend Gabs,” said Owen. “I’m pretty disappointed that I didn’t get through that one. There were two waves that I fell off on that would've given me the score but that’s the way it goes. I more than happy with that result and we’re coming into a fun leg on the tour.”

It was stressful watching CJ, but was sure a pleasure. Everyone wanted him to get a huge result and all his heats came down to the wire. It's good seeing someone whose contributed so much towards surfing get a good result at one of the waves that mean't so much to him over his incredible career. Cj, if you re-qualify please stay on tour. It won't be weird I promise, tons of athletes have done it. Or WSL please make sure this guy gets a wild card into this event in the future. “It’s just been awesome,” said CJ. “To have the opportunity to be here and compete and be part of the Final day is just so rad. I’m stoked. I think I’m as stoked as if I won the event. It was really, really fun, enjoyable and challenging to be here every year and be part of the learning curve at Teahupo’o over the last two decades. That means a lot to me right there. Last time I made the Final out here was with Andy when he won and he was really emotional. That moment I shared with him will be with me for the rest of my life.”

Billabong Pro Tahiti Final Results:
1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) - 16.87
2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) - 13.20

Billabong Pro Tahiti Semifinal Results:
SF 1: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 16.63 def. Owen Wright (AUS) 8.70
SF 2: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 15.86 def. C.J. Hobgood (USA) 8.93

Billabong Pro Tahiti Quarterfinal Results:
QF 1: Owen Wright (AUS) 16.93 def. Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.94
QF 2: Gabriel Medina (BRA) 15.64 def. Kai Otton (AUS) 11.00
QF 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 12.90 def. Josh Kerr (AUS) 11.16
QF 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 16.83 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 15.66

Billabong Pro Tahiti Round 5 Results:
Heat 1: Italo Ferreira (BRA) 15.00 def. Filipe Toledo (BRA) 00.00
Heat 2: Kai Otton (AUS) 13.50 def. Bruno Santos (BRA) 11.76
Heat 3: C.J. Hobgood (USA) 14.36 def. Aritz Aranburu (ESP) 14.00
Heat 4: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 13.37 def. Wiggolly Dantas (BRA) 13.21

2015 WSL Jeep Leaderboard Top 5 (after Billabong Pro Tahiti):
1: Adriano de Souza (BRA) 34,950 pts
2: Mick Fanning (AUS) 34,700 pts
3: Owen Wright (AUS) 34,400 pts
4: Julian Wilson (AUS) 33,200 pts
5: Filipe Toledo (FRA) 33,200 pts

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