PIPELINE, Oahu/Hawaii - Jeremy Flores (FRA) 22, won the Billabong Pipe Masters in memory of Andy Irons over Kieren Perrow (AUS), 33, in a come-from-behind victory in firing four-to-six foot (1.5 metre) backdoor barrels, marking his first career ASP World Tour victory.
Joel Parkinson (AUS), 29, was another to stand atop the Billabong Pipe Masters podium, clinching his third, consecutive Vans Triple Crown title to conclude the 2010 ASP World Tour season.
Flores, who was in need of a solid 8.60 single-wave score in the dying moments, clawed his way back into the Final against Perrow and threaded the needle on a beautiful righthand barrel to earn a 9.37. Making history as the first European to ever win the Billabong Pipe Masters in the event’s 40 year history, Flores punctuated his season with his career-best result.
“This is such a dream,” Flores said. “I’ve been coming to Hawaii for so long and this is my favorite place in the world, the waves, the people, everything. I just knew I couldn’t give up in the Final even though I was behind. It’s the Pipe Masters and it’s everything. I’m so stoked.”
Flores’ impressive showing in the Final wasn’t his only come-from-behind win of the day, as the young Frenchman also topped reigning 10-time ASP World Champion Kelly Slater (USA), 38, in the dying minutes of their Semifinals match-up, marking a significant turnaround in the young Frenchman’s career.
“I’m so stoked to be here and to have made this result,” Flores said. “I’ve been surfing a lot again in all conditions, small or big and I kind of lost that at the start of the year. I think that’s what has helped my rhythm. I’ve just been surfing three times a day no matter what the conditions are and I think that’s the biggest thing that changed this year for me. I just feel like I’ve found my rhythm again.”
Flores Finished at No. 9 on the ASP World Tour Rankings for 2010.
Perrow dominated the tricky Backdoor Pipeline conditions throughout the event’s entirety, weaving through several tight barrels to drop some of the event’s top scores including a 9.90 a 9.83 and a 9.70, However the hard-charging Australian saw his Billabong Pipe Masters title slip from his grasp in the final minutes of his match up against Flores.
“You never think you’ve won until the hooter goes I guess,” Perrow said. “I know Jeremy (Flores) is capable of getting great scores which he showed throughout the event and I wanted to be patient and wait for that good one. I went on that one that wasn’t so good and Jeremy got that 9 and all credit to him. It’ been a fantastic week though, the support from everyone has been amazing.”
Kelly Slater (USA), 38, reigning ten-time ASP World Champion, appeared to be the form surfer of the event, notching the event’s only perfect 10-point ride in his Round 4 heat, but made an uncharacteristic priority mistake in his Semifinals bout against Flores, allowing the young Frenchman to find the score needed to overtake Slater in the final minutes of their heat to leave the Floridian icon with a 3rd place finish overall.
“I thought there was a bigger one behind but there have only been one wave sets and I didn’t even think about it in the moment. As soon as it went over I was like oh no, but that’s the way it goes. I’ve had it go that way for me before, but good for Jeremy he’s a great tube rider and I’m sure he’s stoked to be in the Final. To start the heat off I fell and Jeremy was just getting barreled across and I said ‘you know, I’m going to come back and win this heat.’ I let my guard down in the end and that’s the way it goes. You can get 18 or 20 points at Pipeline in the last two minutes.”
The 2010 Billabong Pipe Masters in Memory of Andy Irons also represents Slater’s historic 20th event at the Banzai Pipeline and the ASP World Tour veteran took the time to reflect on his many years in Hawaii.
“I have a lot of good memories here at Pipeline,” Slater said. “I think I’ve surfed in 20 of these things. I think my first one (Pipe Masters) was my best memory, just because of the guys I was surfing against. I saw people like Tom Carroll, who won that year, and I just sat on the beach in awe. He was just amazing that year.”
Dane Reynolds (USA), 25, was another talent to shine in the racy Backdoor Pipeline conditions. The innovative natural-footer topped fellow Americans Taylor Knox (USA), 39, Damien Hobgood (USA), 31, and Patrick Gudauskas (USA), 25, but fell to Perrow in the Semifinals to match his best result of the 2010 ASP World Tour season with an equal 3rd place finish.
“It was funny because my Semifinals heat turned a total flip-flop for me,” Reynolds said. “In my Quarterfinals heat I was in the spot every time a wave came and in the second heat it just went flat. I think in the end it was a pretty good morning with a few tubes at Backdoor. It doesn’t happen every morning for me. It’s a good way to end the year and I’m looking forward to Snapper.”
Joel Parkinson returned to Hawaii to defend his Vans Triple Crown title after a brutal laceration to his foot sidelined him for nearly the entire 2010 ASP World Tour season. The stylish natural-footer put on a memorable performance despite the injury, posting a victory at the ASP PRIME Reef Hawaiian Pro, a 9th at the O’Neill World Cup at Sunset Beach and a 13th at the Billabong Pipe Masters to secure his third consecutive Vans Triple Crown Title.
“I’m excited,” Parkinson said. “This year’s Triple Crown didn’t go how I thought it would go. I was just hoping that I would make a few heats because I only felt like I was surfing at 60 percent at home, but everything changed when I got to Hawaii. The Triple Crown has always been really prestigious to me. It was always dominated by the best Hawaiians and it’s something that I’ve always held high. To get one was great, so to get three is amazing. I hope that next year I’m just injury free and that this win is just a stepping stone.”
Billabong Pipe Masters Final Results:
1 – Jeremy Flores (FRA) 14.54
2 – Kieren Perrow (AUS) 13.77
Billabong Pipe Masters Semifinals Results:
SF 1: Jeremy Flores (FRA) 17.50 def. Kelly Slater (USA) 17.23
SF 2: Kieren Perrow (AUS) 15.03 def. Dane Reynolds (USA) 6.83