Two-time big wave surf world champion Sebastian Steudtner will be one of the four athletes (including freeskier pros Nico Zacek, Seb Michaud, and Greg Hill) who will participate in “Ride and Surf Lofoten“ tour in Lofoten Norway in April. The idea of this four-day happening called GET-tour (GORE-TEX® Experience Tour) is to offer the participants a dream-like adventure where they can ride deep snow slopes and exchange their skis for surfboards at the foot of the mountains. The tour is open for all outdoor lovers and sport enthusiasts. Anyone can apply to participate until 31st December (check out www.experience-tour.com).
While waiting for the big sports event, we wanted to have a word with Sebastian Steudtner to find out more about him.
How did you become a big-wave surfer, Sebastian?
I grew up in Germany, in a town that is in the middle of the country close to Munich. I discovered surfing when I was on vacation and at 16 I moved to Hawaii, to a family that took in kids from all over the world to teach them how to wind-surf. I became very good quite quickly and I quit school and moved to Hawaii full-time. I got sponsors after three months and did a lot of competitions.
I fell in love with big-wave surfing when I saw Peahi, or Jaws, the biggest wave in the world at the time. I fell in love with the power of the wave. I also happened to meet Nelson Armitage, who is a Hawiian legend. He is a surfer and a politician who fights for the rights of the Hawaiian people. He and his family took me in and his son became my first big wave partner.
At the time I went out to the media and said that I was going to surf the biggest wave in the world. This resulted in my sponsors detaching themselves from me and the media thinking I was crazy. I needed to stay in Hawaii, so I began working in construction.
However, I did surf the biggest wave in the world in 2009. In 2011 Gary McNamara caught a bigger wave in Portugal and set the world record. I was in Germany at the time so I went down to Portugal to meet him. Then, in December of 2014 I surfed a bigger wave.
What does Hawaii mean to you?
Hawaii means a lot to me. I spent every winter for 9 years there. I learnt a lot from the culture, respect, loyalty, to treat nature well, to believe in myself. That is how Hawaiians live. It is a beautiful country and a beautiful culture.
Have you surfed in the Baltic Sea? No. Not yet.
The biggest wave was officially measured around 25 metres. It was crazy, like a moving mountain. There is so much force in one wave, it is hard to describe if you haven’t been there. There is massive acceleration and you feel really big and really small at the same time. Really big because you can take part in something that powerful, and really small in the sense that you realise how insignificant you are in comparison.
You are a two-time big wave surf world champion. What is your secret in this extreme sport?
Passion. I love what I do. I am in love with every aspect of it. I love how it works, the chill time, the travelling, the training, working on the equipment. I love new things and I love the outdoors.
You’re going to The Lofoten Islands in April as part of GORE-TEX Experience Tour. What are you expecting from that trip?
I have surfed and snowboarded in Chile at the same time, however I had to sit in the car for four hours between the two activities. I imagine it will be very exciting to snowboard down the mountain and then jump into the water directly. The scenery must be amazing. I am looking forward to see the country, I haven’t been to Norway before and it will be an exciting trip for me.
Are you into freeriding at all?
I snowboard occasionally now; I used to do that more when I was younger. But since I moved to Hawaii and was there in the winter season I don’t snowboard often. I snowboard whenever I can; I used to ski when I was little. I enjoy snowboarding in powder snow, is that freeride snowboarding?
Do you want to send a message to those applying for GET Experience Tour?
You better be ready, because every single surfer there will be crazy. So be prepared for a crazy good time and for action, we are going to have a lot of fun.