Wearing a helmet to protect his head following a serious freesurf injury that saw him miss the J-Bay Open, Flores looked nearly unstoppable taking down 11-time World Champion Kelly Slater (USA) and reigning World Champ (and defending event champ) Gabriel Medina (BRA) to win this year's event at Teahupo'o.
Behind every great performance is uniquely refined equipment. Australian shaper Jason Stevenson of JS Industries tells all with regards to Flores' magical surfboard.
World Surf League: How long have you been working with Jeremy? How do you refine his boards for reefbreak barrels?
JS: It's been since the start of the year! He rung before Hawaii last year and was wanting some boards but I asked him to wait until January so we could start on his short boards for the Quick Pro (Gold Coast) and get them dialed in. He was not having a very good time with his equipment in the previous years and seemed super frustrated. He's a really amazing surfer so I really wanted to see if I could help him out. I just know what model will suit [Teahupo'o] and just make him the sizes of boards he needs to suit the different sizes of waves that Chopes can dish up, as well as the right volumes to suit his body weight.
WSL: Jeremy is quite a bit smaller than Owen Wright who won on another one of your boards in similar conditions in Fiji. How does a surfers weight/height factor in when shaping a board for waves with a lot of power?
JS: I have had a lot of experience throughout the years developing my different models to suit all types of waves so I know to go to the Forget Me Not and then just make him the right volume to suit his weight and height. I have a good idea of what volumes each weight should be riding. I have a pretty diverse team in regards to body types so all the testing has been done over many years.
WSL: Can you tell us about how Jeremy's board differs from Owen's in shape/design/refinements?
JS: It's 6 or so liters different. Same model [as Owen's] just with different measurements and volume. The design concept has more rocker than your all-around [shortboard], less concave and more refined rails so they slice like a hot knife through butter.
WSL: Jeremy wasn't sure he was going to compete heading to Tahiti, did you catch up with him about how he was feeling?
JS: Yes he wasn't sure as he was still suffering pretty bad headaches and was told not to surf. But, being the guy he is, he worked out how to get there, get a helmet on and go charge it.
WSL: What's the best part about shaping for Jeremy?
JS: We connected pretty quickly. I've known Jeremy for a while and while he's a super competitive guy he's also one of the coolest cats you could meet. Super respectful, super easy to talk to so it's not hard. I've been able to get some good equipment under his feet and he's been ripping. Results are coming and he's in a happy place compared to his previous years. I'm super stoked to work with him and see him reaching his goals.