For Kauai boy Zietz, the moment was still a sweet one despite missing the win. One of only a handful of surfers to ever make back-to-back finals in 30 years of the Vans Triple Crown, Zietz leads the Triple Crown ratings and that gives him a wildcard into the ultimate event: The Billabong Pipe Masters (Dec. 8-20).
He is also incredibly close to clinching the $100,000 Triple Crown cash bonus. Melling or Alejo Muniz (BRA), tied for second on the Triple Crown ratings, would need to place third or better at Pipe, with Zietz losing first round, for Zietz to lose the title. In addition to the cash, Zietz could walk away with a $30,000 Harley Davidson motorcycle, and a $10,000 custom Nixon watch.
"I saw Melling get that wave and I already knew it was the score," recounted Zietz. "He blew it up super hard and I knew he only needed a six. But I'm still super happy, Melling is a friend of mine and I'm stoked that he won it. I'm still over the moon. I have two finals in a row and I can't ask for much more.
"(A wildcard to Pipe) definitely never seemed like a possibility but yeah, it's happened and I was stoked to hear. I just found out that Andy Irons was the only surfer to ever get three finals in a row (at the VANS Triple Crown), so hopefully I can do that and put my name next to Andy's and that would be a dream come true."