With 128 days in the books, Ozzy Lusth has officially played Survivor more than any other contestant ever — and he’s also the only one to play four times and never win.
The 35-year-old surfer spent his shortest time on the island this most recent go-around (24 days), after being eliminated on Wednesday night’s second episode.
This season of Survivor: Game Changers seemed tailor-made for Lusth, who quickly became a fan favorite on his first season, 2006’s Survivor: Cook Islands, for his survival skills and incredible immunity streaks, though his time was surprisingly cut short on Wednesday after failing to win an immunity challenge he had played — and won — twice before.
After lasting more than an hour and half holding himself up on a giant, building-sized pole, Lusth dropped to the ground, giving immunity to Tai, and putting himself in danger of elimination.
“That challenge was part of my downfall,” he told ET over the phone on Thursday. “My downfall really came from my past on Survivor, and how I played this game in the past, and how I’ve had the luck of being able to be on an immunity run and win everything after a certain point.”
“I think that everybody that voted for me was scared that I was going to do that, that there was going to be no stopping me after that vote, so they looked at it as an opportunity,” he added. “And they’re probably right.”
For Lusth’s competitors, seeing his torch finally get snuffed was a sigh of relief — even for those already eliminated.
“I was so excited to see Ozzy go out the next tribal council,” Hali Ford, who was eliminated during Wednesday’s first episode, told ET. “I love him as a player. I would salute him, but I was so upset with the lack of ballsy-ness that people showed at my tribal council, just no one would make a big move. And so to see them really take out a big player was really satisfying. I’m proud of them. I clapped for them.”
Though he once again lost out on the million, it’s hard for Lusth to have any regrets from his experience. In fact, he said the only thing he wishes he would’ve done differently was playing more with Cirie, who brutally blindsided him on Survivor: Micronesia.
“I think the only regrets that I had were not playing a little closer with Cirie. I think that she’s such an amazing player and, you know, I have history with her, so I wished that I had a little more trust from the very beginning,” he shared, adding that their Survivor history made it harder to work together in the beginning.
“When the tribes got mixed up and [Cirie and I] went to Tavua, we really had a lot of great bonding experiences, and it was a really bright time in the season for me. I mean, we won all of the immunity challenges, so we never had to go to tribal, and it was a lot of fun being out there on that beach. We had a great time,” he continued. “I just respect her gameplay so much. She’s able to get so far… you know, she doesn’t have a lot of ‘survival’ skills, and she doesn’t need it. She is a mental powerhouse.”
“I would hope Cirie [wins],” he added bluntly.
As for whether Lusth would play again for another shot at the title of Sole Survivor, he said the answer is “of course” — but he’s unsure if the reality competition would have him back.
“You can’t say no to the experience,” he confessed. “Unfortunately, I’ve played so many times, and I think somebody said 128 days, I have a hard time believing that they’ll ask me back, unless it is, you know, the final season, and there’s a big blowout, and then I’d gladly go back. But, you know, I’m going to be pushing 40 pretty soon. I’ve basically grown up on the show, so I have a hard time believing that they will ask me back, but I will not say no.”
“[There’s] not really [anything I would do differently]. I would just try and be a little more present,” Lusth said, “and a little less trusting about some of the people I get sneaky feelings about.”
Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS.