Sebastian Zietz Interview

The 2012 Triple Crown Champ on hitting his stride on the North Shore

The newly minted Triple Crown champion, Seabass Zietz, at the Billabong Pipe Masters. Photo: Lowe-White

After six years of slugging it out on the ‘QS, Kauai’s Sebastian Zietz has found himself in a near-perfect rhythm this winter on the North Shore. With a win at Haleiwa that catapulted him onto the World Tour and a third place finish at Sunset that placed him in a prime position to win the Triple Crown, it felt as if Seabass could do no wrong. Staying to script, today Seabass secured the 2012 Triple Crown title, taking down John John at Pipe in the process. In the wake of his winning streak we caught up with Seabass to talk about his newfound success, how he’s going to celebrate, and where he wants to go from here.

So it's been a pretty productive month to say the least. How you feeling right now?

I'm feeling absolutely great. I'm over the moon. It's been amazing and I don't even think it's sunk in yet. Between Haleiwa and then Sunset, and now winning the Triple Crown and qualifying for the Tour, it's been the craziest few weeks of my life.

So what does all of this do for your confidence?

I think more than anything I've just proved to myself that I can make it--that I can beat the best guys and that I can hold my own and win. I also don't want people to mistake how psyched I am all the time for being overly confident either. I'm just really stoked all the time and I don't want to come across as being cocky or anything. I'm pretty psyched in general and can't wait to see what happens next.

You mentioned that it hasn't really begun to sink in yet. If you look at the list of Triple Crown champions--Joel, Andy, Sunny, etc.--it’s pretty impressive and now you have your name on that list. That's gotta be a pretty amazing thing to wrap your head around.

Oh man, it is crazy. I really don't think I'll be able to grasp it for a while. There's been a lot of nerves lately so I guess I'm finally able to sort of exhale and breathe a little bit. Right now, I'm just lying in bed watching cartoons to relax. Going into Haleiwa, I was just trying to qualify. And then at Sunset, I made the final and started to really think about the Triple Crown. And now that it’s all happened, I’m just trying to decompress a bit.

Did you know what it was going to take for you to secure the Triple Crown?

I had heard a few different scenarios before Pipe started, but things seem to change so much. You don't want to focus too much on something like that early on, you know? But then this morning, I heard that if [Adam] Melling lost that heat in Round 2, I would win the Triple Crown. So we were all watching the heat from the Oakley house to see how it would all play out. I didn't want to see Melling lose or anything, but I just wanted to see how it would all unfold. We're both good friends and we both ride for Oakley and are going to be on Tour together next year, so I'm really excited for that. But when he bowed out of that heat, the whole house sort of exploded and people were popping beers. I had one, not really thinking that I had to surf against John John in about a half hour, but I think that probably helped relax me a bit.

So is it safe to say that it's gonna be a long night tonight?

Yeah, the next round is non-elimination and I'm not sure if they're gonna run tomorrow--so yeah, I just won the Triple Crown, of course we're gonna have some fun. Nothing too gnarly, but I'm gonna be buying a lot of people drinks. So many people have helped me out and I want to celebrate with all of them tonight.

I know that Dustin Barca and your brother Billy have been really instrumental in your life and career. Can you tell me about that?

Dustin has been a huge friend to me. When I was younger he would buy boards for me and coach me along the way. And when I started coming over to the North Shore, he really helped dial me in and shape my character. Let's just say that I did a lot of dishes and cleaning. At the time, that stuff drove me crazy, but looking back on it now, I know that it really helped me grow and become more responsible. So thank you, Dustin. And my brother Billy has probably been the most important person in my life getting me to this point as a professional surfer. He and my brother Josh had really strong amateur careers and are amazing surfers but never went the pro route. They've given me a lot of advice. But Billy has always been in my corner, telling me it was possible, making me believe in myself. I really can't thank him enough for everything.

So where do you go from here?

After the Pipe Masters is over, I'm gonna go back home to Kauai and relax for a little bit and then start training for Snapper and the World Tour. I really can't wait. But for right now, I'm just gonna take it one heat at a time for the rest of the event.