Surfing has always played host to a cast of colorful characters. In the ’60s and ’70s, Miki Dora swindled and swaggered his way into our hearts. In the ’80s, the likes of Gerr and Occy hamming it up as they trekked their way across the globe became the stuff of legends. And the ’90s, with the derelicts at …Lost led by Crazy Randall and Chicken Willy, the envelope was further pushed with every scalp-torching San Clemente moment. Today, lucky for us, the 21st-century surf scene has Kauai’s Sebastian Zietz at the helm.
Growing up on the outer island of Kauai, Seabass is the latest heir to uphold the Zietz family prowess in the water. His older brothers are the stuff of legends on the Garden Island, the kind of surfers that people whisper about and say surf as good as most of the guys on Tour (in most cases, we realize that’s BS, but in this case it just so happens to be true). For Seabass, with his older brothers to emulate in the water, his future as a top-shelf surfer was predestined. That is, until the family packed up and moved to Florida for a few years, nearly dry-docking Seabass in the process. But like a wayward hound that lost it’s way, Seabass found his way home to an outer-island abode and had a thruster tucked under his arm again in no time. Things were back to the way that they should be and young Seabass was progressing at mind-numbing levels.
As someone who had the fortune of watching Seabass develop from the kid with the extra thumb* that sat next to you on the bus to one of smoothest surfers on the island, I can attest to the fact that time in the water will always play a role, but the accelerated nature of Seabass’ development in the water was so ridiculous, it should be studied. One day it was smooth-as-butter turns, the next it was airs—it was as if there was no cap on his learning curve. He would see a punt or a hack, and in one fell swoop or lofty air, he would pull it.
With the likes of Dustin Barca, Roy Powers and the Irons Bros. paving a path before him, Seabass began gaining the attention of the industry. Heats were won and team managers took note. As Seabass progressed through the amateur ranks, his story seemed to be one of upward mobility. Only one problem: no passport. Born without a live birth certificate (it’s actually quite common on Kauai) traveling the world sans passport can become a difficult endeavor, and without travel, the whole pro surf thing can be a bit difficult. As the kinks surrounding Seabass’ passage into this world were ironed out, Seabass demolished the domestic contest scene, laying waste to his travel-seasoned counterparts with reckless abandon.
When the day came that the final “t” was crossed the last “i” dotted on his passport, it was open season for Seabass. His mug, topped with a mane of wild blonde hair, was—and continues to be—spread across every major American surf magazine. Profiles, video segments, photo shoots, and his prowess as a dancer (see link below) became evident to the public. Seabass was here, bringing some much needed life and flare back to the surf world. Here’s hoping he continues his rise in the Hot 100 and shatters some ego on the dance floor.
*It’s been mentioned time and again that Seabass was born with an extra digit—a small thumb complete with the tiniest of nails—protruding from his regular thumb. What would be a source of embarrassment for many has become a spectacle of pride for Seabass—a move that says wonders about his personality.
Q & A
• Fun= surfing • Vision= champion • Friend= ocean • Foe= competetors • Greenhouse= bad • Gas= $
When did you turn pro?
What are the events, wins, memories that stand out most throughout your career so far?
Goofy vs. Regular Champion, Oakley Pro Junior Trestles Champion, Oakley Pro Junior Trifecta Champion.
If there’s one thing that people in the industry would recognize you by, what would that be?
My dancing and off the wall waves
When did you first start riding? Where/why?
In Kauai when I was six: All my older brothers ripped so I wanted to be just like them.
What drives you to be sicker than everyone else?
Just my love for surfing and putting in more time in the water than anyone else.
If you weren’t ripping on a surfboard, what kind of menial task would you want to do?
Down Hill skier.
If you had to date one person who would it be: Pamela Anderson after Tommy Lee, Snookie from Jersey Shore, or Oprah?
If you had to share a bathroom with one Oakley rider, who would it NOT be and why?
Brenno, he leaves his dirty mags everywhere!
Tell me a funny story about an Oakley rider...(We’ll never tell)
woke up in the middle of the night to Sam Page drunk pissing on his bags.
What wave scares you the most?
Pipe, where I broke my foot
Which break is just pure FUN for you?
Pine Trees is always fun
Your most gnarly “I got owned” story…
Uluwatu, I went over the falls on the drys and my board shot under me and I broke it in three.
Talent…other than doing no handed pushups:
Making people laugh at my demise.
Your Favorites…(Start with your favorite music artist or something):
Best song to ride to:
Black and Yellow
First thing you do when you get back from a trip is…
go play mini golf with the family
A lot of riders never get to go to Prom, did you go, who did you take or who would you ask if you could go today?
I went to the the Newport prom with my boss' friend's daughter: showed her the time of her life.
What is something that you wouldn't normally tell someone about yourself?
I've got three thumbs
Fist pumping? Head Banging? C-Walking? Or Funky Chicken? Which one? Or all of the above?
All of them and some.
Dream vacation spot:
Would you rather get punched in the gut by Mr. T. or super roundhouse kicked in the face by Chuck Norris?
Punched in the gut, Chuck would kick my head off.
If the most interesting man in the world wanted to take your girlfriend out would you let him?
People would be super surprised if they knew that you…
ski not snowboard
What tricks are you working on?
You’ve been mistaken for…
a local...nah, I wish.
Taylor Swift or Myley Cyrus? Or if you prefer older, Megan Fox or Diane Kreuger?
Sion, Andy and Eddy would go!