Tuesday, 25 August 2015, Teahupo'o, Tahiti - Despite a recent, severe head injury, Jeremy Flores (FRA) has won the Billabong Pro Tahiti and with its Jeep rankings boost, has joined the Title race. After a contest that saw intense heats and big upsets, the race to the top has grown to include six surfers within one event win of overtaking the No. 1 position.
Neither Flores nor his Final opponent Gabriel Medina (BRA) had an easy road there: Both surfers defeated World Champs and Title contenders along the way. Going into Finals Day, Filipe Toledo (BRA) and Owen Wright (AUS) seemed like the imminent frontrunners, poised to take control of the Jeep Leaderboard in a Final that would be a battle royale between a progressive expert and a barrel guru. Each was just two heats away from stealing the yellow jersey from Adriano de Souza (BRA), with Wright having already made the Quarterfinals.
“Gabriel (Medina) is one really tactical guy so I thought I’m going to play his game... 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.” - Jeremy Flores
Flores had been an impressive underdog throughout the Billabong Pro, including his Round 3 defeat of 2012 World Champ Joel Parkinson (AUS) with two scores in the nine-point range. He carried that confidence with him all the way to the Final, where he scored a 9.87 on his first takeoff. Medina, who had been on fire for most of the event, faltered on his opening rides and struggled to find a solid wave.
A crucial back-and-forth unfolded at the 15-minute mark, in which Medina edged ahead. He put another score on the board, but Flores' early heroics were enough to carry him to victory.