- WSL / Tony Heff

Over the course of his career, Jeremy Flores made no secret that Andy Irons was a surfer that played a profound role in shaping his approach and perspectives on competitive surfing. So it's fitting that one of the greatest moments of his storied time on Tour came at Pipeline.

On the final day of the 2017 Billabong Pipe Masters, the World Title race had come down to the wire, a battle between defending champ John John Florence and the ever-dangerous Gabriel Medina.

Then there was Flores with nothing to lose and everything to gain. He'd just barely requalified for the Tour the day before and emotions were riding high.

Not dropping a heat all event, in non-elimination Round 4, Flores handily vaulted over Medina and future World Champ Italo Ferreira to earn an automatic berth in the Quarterfinals.

Jeremy Flores Steals Billabong Pipe Masters Victory With Last-Second Heroics
The veteran Frenchman nabbed his second Pipe Masters crown from John John Florence's hands with 22 seconds left to go.

Medina dispatched seven-time Pipe Masters winner Kelly Slater in Round 5 to set up a grudge match against Flores in the Quarters. Again, the Frenchman didn't yield. And against one of the steeliest competitors on Tour, Flores handled his business.

"To be honest, I don't like to be that guy that's deciding titles -- it should be a showdown between John and Gabriel, these guys work so hard," Flores explained. "That's why honestly when I beat Gabriel I felt bad."

But really, let's be honest. Flores didn't feel bad. Like Irons, he relished the opportunity to play the underdog and upset the power balance. It's part of what fueled his fire.

After squeaking by Kanoa Igarashi in the Semis by 0.87 of a point, the Final showdown was set: Flores vs. Florence.

Jeremy Flores (FRA) placed 1st in Heat 3 of Round Four at Billabong Pipe Masters 2017 in Pipe  Oahu, Hawaii , USA One of the best tube hounds on Tour, Jeremy Flores finding the line to his second Pipe Masters victory. - WSL / Damien Poullenot

The Final started slow. It was Florence that struck first. With 20 minutes left on the clock, he locked in his best score of the heat, an 8.93 for a long, clean barrel. The pair then exchanged 7-point rides to set the stage for a down-to-the-wire finale.

Needing an 8.27 or better, with time flying off the clock, Flores found his opportunity and made the most of it. The judges threw him an 8.33 for a well-ridden Backdoor keg. The Irons influence was unmistakable.

France's own had beat Florence in his own backyard by 0.07 of a point.

"Winning the Pipe Masters against John John Florence like that in perfect Backdoor in the last seconds, that's the best way to win," Flores said. ''I couldn't think of any better way to win this Pipe Master. I'm so, so stoked and there's a lot of emotions."

On the awards stage, Flores accepted his second Pipe Masters from the late Irons' young son, Axel, while Florence celebrated back-to-back World Titles.

"Congrats to everyone. Congrats to John John and Gabriel, these guys are next level. My goal was to win this event but this is crazy, I'm so happy," Flores added.

Jeremy Flores (FRA) claimed victory at the Billabong Pipe Masters 2017 in Pipe, Oahu, Hawaii, USA Jeremy Flores receives the Pipe Masters trophy from Axel Irons, son of the late Pipe champion Andy Irons. - WSL / Tony Heff

Read More:

The waiting period for the Billabong Pro Pipeline gets underway on January 29. Keep it locked right here at WorldSurfLeague.com for the latest news and info as we countdown the start of the 2022 Championship Tour.

World Surf League
Download it for free on the App store. Download it for free on Google Play.