Kauai’s feisty, leg-shaking towhead Sebastian Zietz didn’t have to tear through 100 Wonka Bars to win surfing’s Golden Ticket. He had to earn it. He tore through the 2012 ‘QS season and ripped open the Triple Crown with a win at Haleiwa, a third at Sunset and a fifth at Pipe. He had to beat his dopple-blonder, John John, on John John’s own turf. Twice. And Seabass isn’t going to let this tear end. It’s taken him half a decade to get into the Chocolate Factory and his sweet tooth isn’t sated just yet. So many contests to win, so many dance floors to destroy. —Beau Flemister
SEABASS: It’s been six years on the ‘QS, but I never expected to just jump straight onto the ‘CT. I knew it was a learning experience, and I think that’s an important thing for future ‘QS guys to remember. You just gotta scrap your way on there and take every guy seriously, because they all want it just as bad as you do.
For years I traveled with Granger Larsen and Kai Barger. Out of our little clique, I’m sure we all thought I would be the last one to make it. So hopefully they see me getting on and do it too, because they’re both ‘CT-level surfers. It was so fun with them because we were always just kind of feeding off each other, going, “McDonalds?…Yeah, McDonalds; let’s hit it.” [laughs]
I think this year was different because I had good boards. A magic Merrick and a magic Mayhem. Having good boards makes you confident and that’s what I’ve been. I’ve also been relaxing a bit more this year, taking it all in and enjoying the beautiful places we go. ‘Cause it’s like, why fight it, you know?
I’ll probably trade in the Harley I won from the Triple Crown before I kill myself. I’ve been hearing so many nightmare motorcycle stories since I’ve won that thing. Everyone’s saying, “Get rid of it,” but it would be funny to show up to Pine Trees on it. [laughs]
Parko, Fanning, Slater — I’ll watch and try to learn from those guys. John John’s probably one of my favorite surfers, but I’ve only competed against him twice and beat him at Haleiwa and Pipe, so I think I got his number. [laughs] Nah, hopefully I can keep that streak going against him. I just want to be ready for the ‘CT, both physically and mentally, and take it home for the boys. I have a lot of support and I’m really grateful for that.
I have a ritual where I tell every competitor in my heat, “Good luck,” kind of a good sportsmanship thing. I try not to make any enemies. I think that’s what makes the world go round. I’ll be anyone’s friend, even if they’re a kook in the water; it doesn’t matter, what’s important is how good of a person you are on land.
My older brother taught me how to dance. I moved in with him at a pretty early age and ever since I could remember, he was the most hilarious, out-of-control dancer that I knew of. So I just stole all his moves, but I can remember us having one-on-one dance battles all the time in the house with his wife judging. I just love to make people laugh. I hate seeing everyone so serious on the d-floor. I just get up there for comic relief, but occasionally I’ll even blow my own mind with some of my moves. [laughs]
South America has some great clubs. I love seeing everyone salsa dancing and I’ll add my own spin on it, even though I’ll have, like, no flow. Australia’s sick too, but really different from America — not as much bumping and grinding. Hopefully I get to travel to some sick dance floors on tour next year.