Sebastian 'Seabass' Zietz Wins at Haleiwa and Qualifies for 2013 ASP World Tour; Takes Triple Crown Lead
It was a big weekend for Sebastian Zietz, the three-thumbed surfer from Kauai who is better known as Seabass. His win at Haleiwa at the Reef Hawaiian Pro brought on many firsts: his first major contest win as a professional surfer; his first time leading the Triple Crown of Surfing (with two events to go); and, the biggest first of his young career – his first time qualifying for the ASP World Tour.
Coming into winter in Hawaii, with the three events at Haleiwa, Sunset and Pipeline (an event he’s not guaranteed to compete in), 24-year-old Seabass sat just beyond the qualification bubble. A few bad heats and he’d be back to the World Qualifying Series (WQS) grind, trying again in 2013 to make the much-coveted “Dream Tour.” But if he could muster one or two quality results, he would find himself competing among the top 34 surfers in the world, traveling the globe and fighting for a world title in 2013.
Obviously, the latter has happened and Seabass’ schedule for the coming year just filled up with stops in Australia and Europe, Teahupoo and Fiji and California and more.
“Coming into Hawaii I was definitely feeling confident,” Seabass said. “I’ve had a few injuries over the years, but they’re all healed up so I just believed in myself and now I’m super stoked. I kept my head down and whoever I drew it didn’t matter, I was just in a heat against myself.”
In the four-man final, the heat evolved into a man-on-man battle between Seabass and Hawaii’s wunderkind, John John Florence. The pair went wave for wave, both posting 9s with powerful, explosive surfing. While most probably bet on the defending Triple Crown champ to make his bid for going back-to-back, it was Seabass, instead, who locked down the win with a couple of ferocious snaps and a heat score of 17.76.
Taking down the likes of Florence, Julian Wilson, Kolohe Andino and Sunny Garcia en route to the final, Seabass made a pretty strong statement that he’s ready for whoever and whatever the Tour may throw at him.
When the final horn sound, Seabass, who’s never been the bashful type, made sure the thousands of spectators and friends and family on the beach knew exactly how he felt about the moment. He flexed his arms, hooted, jumped up on his friends on the sand and even posed with the Harley Davidson awarded to the Triple Crown winner. And that night, he let loose some more – back at the Oakley House, images surfaced of Seabass crowd-surfing all of his friends, while still wearing his contest singlet, trunks and lei that he wore on the podium.
Even John John, who lost to Seabass in the final, was excited about what the result meant for his fellow Hawaiian.
“I’m just so happy for (Seabass) to win and it looks like he’s going to be on tour next year,” said Florence. “It’s always good to have another Hawaiian on tour, especially someone like him who’s always positive and happy and making everyone laugh.”
The focus now turns to Sunset. With World Tour qualification locked-up and $40,000 in his bank account, Seabass turns his attention on another big first: winning the Triple Crown.