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Jeremy Flores: Winner of Billabong Pro Tahiti

While free surfing at Lakey Peak 8 weeks ago Jeremy Flores suffered a head injury that sidelined him for J-Bay and nearly cost him entry to the Teahupoo event. But a speedy recovery, a safety helmet, and the determination to surf as deep as possible in the barrel allowed him to not only compete, but win, the Teahupoo event against current World Champion, Gabriel Medina. Congratulations, Jeremy!

On the eve of the Billabong Pro in Tahiti, Jeremy took some time out to give us the run down on his courageous comeback to the lineup.

It’s been almost 8 weeks since your injury in Indonesia. How is your recovery going?

My recovery is doing pretty good. I’m feeling positive and my surfing is basically back to 100%. It might take a little longer for me to get my confidence in bigger waves but I’m confident I’ll get there. The doctors are happy how everything is healing but its a slow process.

For those who don’t know, tell us what happened that day out Lakey Peak?

It was kind of a small day at Lakey Peak and Wiggolly, Banting, Kanoa and I were surfing the right. The tide was getting pretty low but there was some fun looking ramps. I don’t know why I did but I ended up trying a few rotations. One threw me out into the flats and I landed headfirst on the reef. I slammed the right side of my head against the reef and suffered a small brain hemorrhage, a bunch of deep cuts to my face and a solid concussion. I had a complete memory loss. I couldn’t remember anything for over an hour. I didn’t even know who I was or where I was. It was really scary.

How long have you been back in the water and how does it all feel?

I started surfing again at home (Hossegor, France) just over a week ago. There has been some pretty good waves for summer and I’ve have had some fun sessions. I haven’t really surfed in anything heavy yet though. I’ve decided to come to Tahiti anyways but i’m hoping the waves don’t get too big. If they do I will have to pull out of the event. I think I will surf up to around 6 feet, anything bigger than that and i’ll have to re-think.

What precautions do you have to take now your surfing again, and why? 

Inside my brain there is a small blood clot that is like a small rock. It’s just floating around in there. It causes me to to get really bad headaches. They are starting to be less painful which is good. I have to wear a helmet when I’m surfing for a couple of months at least. Once the blood clot has dissolved everything should be fine.

How long do you think will you need to take them before your back to 100%?

I’m feeling 100% now in terms of my technical abilities. When I hit my head it caused a lot of pressure to build up inside my brain and the doctors have said surfing larger waves could cause some problems. It’s definitely a little scary. I think once i get a few waves I will be fine.

How are you feeling heading into Tahiti?

I’m feeling good. I’m so happy to be back in the water and back in Tahiti. Tahiti is one of my favorite places in the world. I love Teahupoo, I love the island and the people. I’m really stoked to be back here and surfing again.

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Tagged in surf