A week after a solid showing in Fiji and currently ranked 10th in the world, Jeremy Flores face-planted the reef in Indonesia (see below), earning him quite a few stitches and a pretty severe concussion. A concussion from which he’s still getting headaches and keeping him from joining the rest of his pals out at J-Bay. But what does a pro surfer do when they’re forced to sit one (or two) out? Cry over spilled milk? Host viewing parties at their pad with pizza and face paint? That just me? We got Jeremy on the horn and France’s finest told us what it’s like to be temporarily on the outside looking in. –Beau Flemister
SURFING: So sadly you’re missing J-Bay — how’s it having to watch an event from the sidelines?
Jeremy: Ah, not too fun. The worst thing about this injury was that I was finally starting to get a good rhythm going this year. It’s pretty clear from my results that I’ve been struggling to find that rhythm in the last few years, and struggling to find boards that work. I was also coming to the realization that I didn’t want it as bad as I used to. But this year, something changed and I started working a lot harder — and it worked because results started showing. I just had my best one in a few years at Fiji last month (3rd place) and I was trying to keep that momentum going into J-Bay. So the injury came at a bad time, but hopefully I can surf Teahupo’o. I’d be really bummed if I couldn’t.
Have you been following the event pretty closely? My wife tells me that I do…all the time.
[laughs] Mmm, not really, actually. I mean I watched a couple of heats and I heard that they got one good day, but the rest has seemed kinda…average? I guess I’d be a lot more bummed on missing it if it was firing [laughs]. I’m sure some crazy surfing is still going down. Not watching probably helps me to not get frustrated, though.
So if you can’t be there, who are you rooting for?
I’ve known Wiggolly [Dantas] forever; he’s like a brother. And it’s his first year, so I’m really excited to watch him. I’d love for him to do well. Plus, it’s a righthander and he rips in those kind of waves so I’m hoping he keeps advancing. I want him to do good, but honestly, I’m always happy for any underdog that does well because this tour is so hard. The underdogs are always exciting to me.
If you’re not biting your nails and glued to the screen what have you been doing to pass the time?
Mmm, I’ve just been doing a lot of stuff to keep my mind off surfing, because with this injury I can’t surf or even train too hard. Pretty much enjoying family time or “normal life,” really [laughs]. I’ve been renovating my house here in France so that’s taken up some time. But the doctors are saying I can’t do anything too gnarly for my brain as far as exercise, so just a little bit of biking, a little jogging and a little bit of yoga to ease back into it. Next week, I’ll go a little harder and then hopefully be surfing by the end of the month.
And then back on the grind in Tahiti?
I hope, man. The doctors gotta give me the green-light though. I still have bad headaches whenever I exert too much energy and that needs to stop before I can surf. So I can’t say Tahiti is a guarantee. But if the headaches cease, I’m there.