ERICEIRA, Portugal (Saturday, Sept 1, 2007)
Crowned after a marathon day and five heats in a row, Jeremy Flores (Fra) seized his maiden 6 Star World Qualifying Series event, defeating Josh Kerr (Aus) in the last heat of the day. Surfing in clean but small 2 ft waves at the beachbreak of Sao Juliao, Flores dominated the event getting the third best heat-score with 17.00 pts and the third best single wave score with a 9.33 finding his way up to the man-on-man final.
Facing fellow Foster's ASP World Tour surfer Josh Kerr (AUS) in the decisive thirty-minute decider, Flores waited ten minutes before catching his first ride and fired an impressive 8.33 out of possible 10. Backing up his ride with a solid 6 pointer, Flores left Kerr away from the crown, the aussie leaving the water exhausted two minutes before the hooter.
"This is one of the most important results of my life… Getting such a big event crown is definitely what I wanted since last year where I started to improve. I'm so stoked…", started Flores.
"I've been training hard to reach this point, physically and mentally, and to win in such a tough event with five heats in a row today means a lot and gives confidence. I'm glad to get the title here… Tiago [Pires] won the two last editions, and I'm proud to keep leading the Europeans towards higher levels."
Talking about all the support he's had so far, "A big shout out to Miky Picon, Tiago Pires, Patrick Beven, Yannick Beven… They've been helping and pushing me so much and it pays off today with this victory. This moment will remain crucial for the rest of my life."
With two runner-up results in Durban's and Huntington's 6 Star WQS, Flores jumps into the WQS top 10 with a current 9th place after the Buondi Billabong Pro 6 Star WQS, getting $ 15 000 before leaving for Trestles next week.
Finishing runner-up in his fourth WQS event of the year, Kerr was coming back from a hand- injury that kept him out of the Sooruz Lacanau Pro two weeks earlier. Using his custom made Air strenght to advance throughout the event, Kerr was running out of energy in the final, posting a two wave combined low scoring result
"I was just too tired. Five heats in a row was too much for me and I wasn't fit enough to counter Jeremy. I was cramping badly in the last five minutes and just left the water."
With only four events this year on the WQS tour, Kerr is chasing his requalification for next year's Foster's ASP World Tour and was in Europe to get back on track before Trestles. "I needed to come back to competition before the next world tour event and it's just perfect to make a final. It's the last WQS for me this year as I'll just put all my strenght into the top 45 events and hope to make it soon."
In one of the closest heats of the event, Leigh Sedley (AUS) was elminated by 19-yeat-old Jeremy Flores (FRA). Starting ahead with a good wave choice, Sedley secured a solid 7.33 out of possible 10 until Flores got on fire to stop the australian from any final.
"The rhythm today was crazy but I actually liked it like that. To keep going that fast helped me focus and took me to the semis so I was feeling fit enough. Jeremy is so good in those waves, and I'm bigger and weight more so I knew it would be hard but I gave him a tough start".
"I'm stoked to get the best result of my career here, it was a testing event, lots of heats and long days but it ends up well for me. I hope this gives me a fresh start for the upcoming events," finished 23-year-old Sedley.
Brett Simpson (USA) was defeated in semifinal #1 in an "air-show new school" battle with Kerr. Achieving the second best result of his career with this equal 3rd finish, clinching 1 875 pts and $ 4 450, the surfer from California was very consistent throughout the event posting the 7th best heat score of the Buondi Billabong Pro with a 16.16 pts tally.
"I'm so tired I can't even feel my body anymore… All those heats in a row make it really tough and it was difficult to go faster than Josh in that heat. It's the second best result of my career after a final in Haleiwa and I'm stoked to make a semi here."
On tour for two years, the 22-year-old Californian showed a consistent new-school surfing during the event, and jumps from to rank 46th on the WQS ratings, getting confidence before the next events. "It's a battle to climb in the ratings, but this results makes me drop 625 pts so it definitely makes a difference."
Finishing with an equal 5th in the Buondi Billabong Pro, Dayyan Neve (AUS) was defeated earlier in the day, finishing his WQS summer campaign as one of the most consistent surfers of the moment. Despite a stunning show in round 6 where he scored the best two-wave combined tally of the event with 17.83 points, Neve couldn't counter Flores's assaults.
"The waves were okay, but I just waited too much and Jeremy took all the good waves in the first ten minutes. I got back on track with a 6 [out of possible 10] but couldn't find the back up ride to qualify," started Neve.
Asked about his WQS results since Japan, "I made quarterfinals in Japan, Newquay and here, and semifinals in Lacanau. I am just stoked for all these results in a row. It's a bummer I lost first heat in the Super Series event but all is going good so far and I had a good time in Europe."