French ASP World Tour surfer Jeremy Flores has been suspended and fined for an altercation he had with the judging panel after losing his Round 2 heat on July 12 at the J-Bay Open in South Africa, according to a statement released by the ASP.
Flores, who has suffered a number of close defeats on tour this year, climbed up the judging tower after the loss and confronted officials and event staff "in an unsportsmanlike manner" according to the ASP.
The ASP fined Flores $6000 for the incident, and also barred him from competing at the upcoming US Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach. He was also banned from competing at the Billabong Pro Tahiti, which is home to his favorite wave on tour, Teahupo'o.
Flores is currently sitting at 31st place in the ASP rankings. Missing the prime event in Huntington Beach and the World Championship Tour event in Tahiti will make it difficult for him to earn enough points to re-qualify for the tour in 2015. The former ASP Rookie of the Year and Pipeline Masters champion has competed on the WCT since 2007, and is known as Europe's most accomplished surfer.
Flores has had issues with judges dating back to the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast in 2007. At that event he claimed that the panel missed seeing a tube ride on his best wave. He was also suspended from an event at Burleigh Heads in Australia in 2011 when he was involved in a fight with former world champion Sunny Garcia, while defending Garcia's son against an angry Burleigh local.
The ASP said in the statement that Flores has apologized both in writing and in-person for the incident in South Africa.
Flores will next compete in California at the Hurley Pro Trestles in September.