In some sections of the surf world, particularly those at J-Bay, the vibe is a bit like 6pm.
Like 6pm when you’re waiting for Dad to get home from work, after your brother has done something really rather bad that afternoon. Your brother has done something super mega naughty, and you’re in that moment of exciting anticipation, the drama is all set to unfold.
Dad is going to be very, very cross indeed. ‘Just you wait till your father gets back’ warned Mum, the ultimate deferred threat in all the parenting universe.
The reason is of course because Jeremy Flores ‘went up the judges’ after losing to Sebastian ‘Seabass’ Zietz in Rd 2 at the J-Bay Open. Going ‘up the judges’ is a classic pro surfer offence. It involves going up the metal staircase at the back of the contest scaffold in a rage to talk to/shout abuse at the head judge. Victor Ribas once sent several coral rocks ‘up the judges’ on his behalf in the Maldives, rather than go up himself. But still, you get the point. If you ever happen to be coming down the stairs (e.g. after a stint in the webcast) while said surfer is ‘going up’ best thing to do is look at the ground and pretend to be invisible.
Those on site at J-Bay reported that when Jeremy went up the judges, a considerable commotion – to put it mildly – was heard.
“Jeremy has always been a bit like that,” said one ASP judge who asked to remain anonymous, “It’s part of his personality. But in 15 years of judging Tour surfing I’ve never seen a surfer lose it like that, even if he did calm down quickly afterwards.”
While there has been no official statement so far from the ASP on any sanctions, different sources speculate that Flores could be slapped with a heavy fine and possible suspension. A fine perhaps won’t bother Flores too much, but a suspension could ensure any involvement he has in the 2015 WCT will be as a spectator.
“We are not taking any part in the decision” said ASP head judge Richie Porta “It’s in the hands of the disciplinary committee and the lawyers. We’ve made our deposition and the case has been transferred to our Santa Monica office. There has been verbal assault and also a physical one, it could have turned into a fight, so I imagine the sanction will be heavier than normal. From my memories the only time a suspension has been made was with Victor Ribas after throwing stones at the judges in the Maldives.”
Meanwhile, as you can well imagine, the media has been loving the fall out. Just like how the only vague recollection anyone will ever have of the WCT’s time in New York City was Bobby’s Martinez’s ridiculous yet captivating ‘This ain’t no fucken tennis tour’ tirade, spectacularly average conditions at J-Bay mean that this kind of sideshow might be the closest the event gets to entertainment. After all, ‘Kelly’s out’, ‘The goofyfoots did rather well in Rd3’ and ‘J-Bay’s back after a bit of a break’ are hardly thrilling sub plots are they?
Surfing Magazine, for their part, made the historical reference ‘Jeremy stormed the judging tower like Napoleon goddamn Bonaparte invaded Russia in 1812.’ Presumably because Jeremy is French (can you see what they did there? Can ya?).
If Jeremy is indeed Napoleon, it remains to be seen whether or not the ASP are Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson and if the Disciplinary Committee are HMS Victory. If so, they might not want to remind themselves of what happened to old Horatio. He defeated Napoleon’s fleet at Trafalgar… but died in the process.
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