Errbody Loves Seabass

Sebastian 'Seabass' Zietz is totally Hawaiian style. His idea of a really good time is Backdoor and Pipe, spitting with size. In the brine he rolls with what many call AI-esque fury. His club sandwich is swift, his bottom turn determined. But get him on land and he's all shakkas and smiles. Since a dream run through the Hawaiian winter, climaxing with a Triple Crown victory and Dream Tour qualification, you'd now be hard-pressed to find a more universally-loved rookie. Especially when he's putting together 19-plus heat totals against John John Florence, like he did on day one of the Oakley Pro, Bali. You're only as good as your competition, and Seabass's combined score was the catalyst for John's 10-point oop. But Seabass ain't mad, he's just glad to be part of such greatness. Especially since he beat Kieren Perrow in round two, and now faces John again in round three. But before that happens, Stab wished to extract some stimulus from the mind of the man with three thumbs (seriously!). He didn't disappoint.

Interview by Craig Jarvis

Stab: We'd adore your recollections of the heat against John.
Seabass: I really respect John John and he was sitting out the back, so I just let him have priority for the beginning of the heat. He got the first wave and it looked like a great wave and he came outta the barrel and got two turns and got a 9.87. I was on the next wave and I thought it was a bit bigger, and it pinched at the end but I managed to punch through and did a big roundhouse and got a 9.57. I dropped in on another wave and got one deep section and came out and did two carves and I didn’t think it as going to be that high a score, but it ended up being an 8.40, so I had John John against the ropes.

You did! But… Then he took another wave that wasn’t great and he got a 7.93 on it, and I got another backup, a 9.80, a long barrel and a good turn.

The scoreboard looked like a slot machine. Well, then John John did the most amazing alley oop of any heat, ever, and it ended right there.

Did you see the oop? I was paddling back out, and I saw him on the wave and I honestly thought that he was going to go for a barrel, so I didn’t watch the wave. Miguel Pupo was the other guy in the heat and I could just tell by his facial expressions and by the crowds cheering that John John had just done something ridiculous. I asked Miguel, “What did he do? What did he do?” He couldn’t even talk!

(Interview continued below)

Comfortable, bordering on the edge of relaxation, in Fiji. ASP/Kirstin Comfortable, bordering on the edge of relaxation, in Fiji. ASP/Kirstin

Tell me how you felt. I guess I’m just kinda stoked to push John John to that level. I’m a big fan of his and I think that one day he’s going to win a world title for Hawaii.

Do you feel rivalry even though you’re both Hawaiian? Definitely. Firstly, there’s always a little argument between all the islands, y'know, claiming that they have the best waves, but I honestly think that Kauai has the best waves. John John has always been at a level under me, age wise. He got on tour before me. I found it pretty difficult to get on tour and then I finally accomplished that. I’ve only ever had three heats with him. The first was in Haleiwa in the final, and he was battling with Freddy P, and I was sitting wide because I knew those inside bowlers could come. I got this good wave, and then kinda sat on him hard for the rest of the final. I bet he was bummed about that.

All’s fair… Yeah. I know he was bummed that my cheering squad was so nuts in Haleiwa. I had more people cheering for me than he had cheering for him, and that could be frustrating because that’s his home break. I think it was just because I needed that result really badly to get on tour and I had a lot more riding on it. He’s already a superstar. I’ve been struggling to get on tour for a couple of years and I think everyone was just kinda happy for me.

When was your next heat with him? Our second meet up was a first round heat at Pipe and I’m pretty sure I combo'd him, so he mustn't have been too happy about that. There’s a bit of a rivalry building, I guess. Its two-one right now, I’m still up on him. I’ll claim that all day.

Losing a heat with two nines. Discuss. Well, in the last heat I surfed, Kelly got a perfect 20 and I got a 4, so the heat with John John felt a lot better. I gave him a run for his money while Kelly just made me look totally stupid.

What frustrates you about the World Tour? On the WCT everyone has their entourage. On the 'QS it’s a lot more about camaraderie. You have to bunk up with whoever will take you. Of course you’re gonna try and bunk up with your friends, but sooner or later you’re gonna meet everybody who's on the 'QS, and you end up partying with your friends. You can have five guys in a room on the 'QS, with everyone trying to save some money, and that’s not going to ever happen on the WCT. Everyone has his or her own coach, own comfort zone-kinda deal.

Do you have an entourage now that you’re on the WCT? Just Tommy Whits. He’s been my main travel partner. In Fiji I got thrown in with Michel and Jeremy and I was stoked on that. It reminded me of the 'QS, just to get thrown into the room. It was definitely a bit lonely the first couple of events. I just really like hanging out with people. It’s funny. I don’t want to complain 'cause Oakley has been paying for all my rooms and shit, but if I were staying in a room by myself, I’d rather go and hang out with some people. I’m a people person.

Bass is a people person. This Keramas belt ain't lonely. ASP/Kirstin Bass is a people person. This Keramas belt ain't lonely. ASP/Kirstin