Nazaré, Portugal, October 24, 2016.
One of the strangest prizes in the history of big-wave surfing was when a relatively unknown German surfer named [Sebastian Steudtner] (/athletes/7141/jamie-mitchell), with great windsurfing credentials but with little-known credentials in the big-wave arena, won the Biggest Wave Award for 66-foot left he surfed at Pe'ahi back in 2010.
Not one to rest on his laurels, he then went on to win the XXL Biggest Wave at Nazaré in 2015, proving that he was no flash in the pan. Two Biggest Wave awards is a rare testimonial.
While not that well known outside of Germany, Sebastian has a massive following back home, and here are a few things you might (or might not) know about him.
Mercedes Benz sponsors him. Not a bad one to have.
He has a charity surf foundation for which Nelson Mandela is an inspiration. "Nelson Mandela said, ‘Sport can change the world' and sport changed my life for the better," said Steudtner in an interview on the Unstoppable Family website. "I decided to create a surfing project which helps kids that come from a rough background to change their lives. It's called #wirmachenwelle (wemakewaves)."
For this year's attempt at the Biggest Wave Award, Seabass (yep, he's also known as Seabass) snagged one giant ole piece of Nazaré, in a stiff offshore, and rode it valiantly across the peak. At one stage he disappeared behind the whitewater line in front of him, but the wave was towering 10 times overhead as he turned off the bottom. This big wave surfer might have his roots in windsurfing, but he knows what to do when it's time to outrun a monster.
With those two solid Big Wave Awards under his belt already, there is no reason why a nice guy like Sebastian couldn't win for the third time.