Surfer Sebastian Zietz looks to make progress in the WSL circuit

  • Poullenot / WSL

    Sebastian Zietz found a barrel with less than 15 seconds remaining in his second-round heat to pick up the necessary score and defeat Joan Duru. Zietz need an 8.04 and received an 8.23 from the judges. He then topped Tomas Hermes to move into the fourth round of the Oi Rio Pro in Saquarema, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

HALE‘IWA — Kaua’i-born professional surfer Sebastian Zietz, aka Seabass, credits his success as a surfer to the nature in which he grew up on the island of Kaua‘i.

Zietz established momentum headed into the 2020-21 season on the World Surf League circuit.

Zietz placed 17th at the Billabong Pipe Masters presented by Hydro Flask earlier this month. He finished the event with 1,300 points, and was $9,000 richer after his first event.

The WSL’s next event will be the Jaws Championship Jan. 1 to March 31 in Pe‘ahi, Maui.

COVID-19 didn’t impede Zietz’s progress, but he did get more time to spend with his family instead of focusing on the rigors of being on tour.

“It was nice to have one year on, and half a year off,” Zietz admitted. “I think I will be competing in mostly regional events, trying to get a seed into the challenger series and give (this season) a good shot.”

Zietz focused on surfing on Kaua‘i’s North Shore to get ready for the season with his wife and daughter.

“I just enjoyed being a dad and spending time at home,” Zietz said. “I took the extra time to be a dad.”

Staying true to his roots

Zietz credits growing up on Kaua‘i with making him a successful surfer.

Zietz married his longtime girlfriend Krisy Fulp in 2017, and the couple opened a fitness gym on Kaua‘i.

He credits Fulp for the extra motivation, according to his biography, and he let that motivation carry him to success.

Zietz finished No. 14 in the world in 2018, and today Zietz is still widely considered the happiest surfer on tour.

According to his biography, Zietz grew up on Kaua‘i as one of nine children, and was too busy having fun playing outside to realize that for decent chunks of time they were homeless.

“I just thought we were camping,” he stated in his WSL website biography. “Growing up on Kaua‘i was a dream come true. The amount of power and respect you have to show for your elders shaped me.”

Surfing next to surfing legends such as Andy Irons and Bruce Irons, Bethany Hamilton and former tour star Dustin Barca, also made him humble.

“You can’t be loud and talking, especially being a haole,” Zietz said. “You have to let the surfing do the talking. That is what I’ve tried to do is put a smile on my face and spread the aloha spirit.”

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Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or jblasco@thegardenisland.com.

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