Sebastian Zietz entered the 2013 ASP World Championship Tour (WCT) unknown on the international stage. After storming the Vans Triple Crown in 2012, the Kauai talent launched from the back of the rankings, securing an ASP Top 34 spot in the blink of an eye.
Zietz would turn heads on the WCT, trumping some of the world's best in an array of conditions to prove he belonged alongside the global elite. With a full season of experience under his belt, the unpredictable regular-footer is ready to attack the Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast with refined equipment and heightened confidence.
You entered your rookie year as a darkhorse, but you had a really strong season, making the Quarterfinals three times and finishing No. 16 overall. Following a successful rookie year, what kind of pressure are you facing in 2014?
â€œNo pressure hopefully,â€ Zietz said. â€œYou never know until you get to the events. Last year I just wanted to requalify. This year I'm going to bump up my goals, and maybe shoot for top 10. I was super-nervous last year with the crowds but I got used to it. This year I'll be able to hopefully relax and let my surfing shine through.â€
What were the highs and lows of 2013? Were there any defining moments that you learned from the most?
â€œBeating guys like Taj (Burrow) and Julian (Wilson), guys I thought I'd never be able to beat and the phenomenal waves were the highs. The low was probably losing first heat in Tahiti. I thought I was going to have a good performance there. Losing with a 4.0 to Slater's 20 was pretty embarrassing! I learned a lot last year, but mostly keeping relaxed in the chaos.â€
"Last year I was super nervous. This year I am going in with a little more experience and a lot more confidence."
The Quiksilver Pro Gold Coast is just around the corner, how much more prepared are you in 2014 than last season?
â€œAs far as my equipment goes, I think I might have been over-prepared and overwhelmed with all the boards I had from all different shapers. I had a year to work with Channel Islands Surfboards so I think I'm pretty dialed in.â€
With Snapper specifically, what did you learn the most at that event and what will you plan to change at the Quiksilver Pro?
â€œLast year I was super nervous. I felt like an eight-year-old grom doing his first contest. So, this year I'm going in with a little experience and a lot more confidence."
What are your goals and expectations for 2014?
â€œThe goal is Top 10. If I just focus on winning every heat I might as well shoot for World Champ, yeah?â€