He charged the large stuff, too, which surprised no one. After all, Seabass had long since built a reputation for chucking himself over the ledge on Oahu—the only surf trip he’d ever been allowed to take until now. “At 19 he had a breakthrough year on the North Shore,” Billy recalls. “Instead of dealing with the crowd at Pipe, he started pulling into everything he could at Off The Wall and Rockpile. Seabass likes stand-up time. He wants to get as many waves as he can without hassling anyone. He has no ego, so he’s completely non-confrontational.” Or, as Seabass puts it: “I’ve never been in a fight in my life.”
“Wake up, brah. Waves won’t be good ’til later. Let’s go do some tourist shit.”
There are some whose glass is half empty, some whose glass is half full. Seabass’ glass is overflowing, spilling on the floor, bouncing off the wall, and forming a shredable side-wedge—so I start stretching before even getting out of bed. Seabass’ close friend Josh Rex joins us on what I expect to be a boring haole tour of the Garden Isle’s spellbinding North Shore.
Seabass doesn’t do boring.
There’s seemingly a waterfall or natural pool or cavernous abyss every hundred yards, and they chauffer me to all of them, dropping accurately pronounced historical insights along the way. We scale sheer natural bridges and leap off 50-foot cliffs, shallow-dive rivers, and play “Dorian at Jaws” inside subterranean blowholes. It’s a morning of nonstop visceral adrenaline.
Then we go surfing. Twice. And this is where his brightness really burns. In short, Sebastian Zietz is a Hawaiian who froths like an East Coaster—finding potential in the torrential, stoke in the joke. No lineup’s too beat, no wave too shitty. “Over it” isn’t in his vocabulary. This particular lefthander is just bad: wrong wind, wrong tide, no swell—a reform of a reform, really. But Seabass catches a hundred waves in the first 20 minutes, inebriating me with dizzying backside pop and beyond-vertical snaps. By the half-hour mark, he’s riding switch and boosting little grabs, s-carving the backwash out to sea, skimming shorepound.