When I was young, my approach to everything was disruptive. When I surfed and skated, it was just about going hard. When something came to me in my personal life, it was acted out with little regards to consequences or feasibility.

As I grew older, I started to see links in behaviors and activities. I shifted from being the actor on stage to the observer in the audience. With my surfing, instead of just doing; I began to focus on the dynamics and mechanics.


When my son was young, we enrolled him in a martial arts class. I was keen on watching the classes and I instantly noticed that most of the drills were based upon common exercises we do today in a gym. I immediately drew upon the value of good centering they were trying to pass on to the students and I began to see how it radiated out to many facets of our life.

The Stringer

In alignment.

In alignment.

In many sports, there is a phrase called, “Rolling Down the Windows”. This mainly occurs when you are landing or completing a maneuver and your body goes off-balance. In order to try to regain composure, the athlete begins to flail his arms around. We all have seen this… It is the frantic arm motion we do when we hit a slippery area of a floor. Most of the time we end up on our butts.

Kelly Slater is the master of being centered. I watched a video of him and in moments of trouble, he calmly stretched his leading arm out in a straight line over his stringer. This seemingly kept his body still and centered enough to regain composure.

The key is that Kelly concentrates on staying in a direct line over the stringer of his surfboard. The stringer is a wooden strip that runs through the direct center of a surfboard. Thus, if you are in line with the stringer; you are centered.

Mission #2

I wrote before that feeling the magic is one mission for the year. Being centered is another mission. When you are centered, you are stable. You are calm. You are balanced. This pans out to all aspects of my life. Eating, relationships, stress, finances, and employment.

In times of trouble, the aim is to get through it without rolling down the windows.

About 1stpeaksteve

Welcome to The Side Wedge! The Side Wedge is a product of the journey through life of Steve Zima. Former professional surfer, a writer, surf coach, and hospitality manager. This is a collection of travel tips, motivation, and stories from my past. Finally, I offer surf coaching through The Side Wedge. Please feel free to contact me with questions if you want to improve your performance today! Thanks for reading!
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9 Responses to Centering

  1. mulletkiller says:

    I just finished a lunch service of about 200+ people in which Almond Couscous, Moroccan “Beef” (vegetarian) with Potatoes or Tagine, Tomato Curry, Fennel Infused Kale/Napa Cabbage for a side, and Flat Bread with Saffron Chai Tea of coarse. Sorry no preserved lemons.

    Since my Sous Chef came in late you better believe I was rolling down the windows at 11:30am

  2. Indeed…when we are centered we are home. When we are at home, life is good.

  3. janstring says:

    This is a great piece of advice – considering I can be a bit like that. Yet I am literally a Stringer and wonder if today of all days. I was meant to read this post. Thank you 🙂

  4. David says:

    No coincidences. I found my way to your searching for information on Peeples surfboards. Read that entry and clicked on todays entry and had a “no way” moment. As a middle school coach and personal trainer I am Blessed to work on an island near Miami, FL I train a few adults on the beach before work and when they leave I can go for a quick swim, dip, float and I enjoy the sea grass, fish, ripples of the sandy bottom etc. This morning I thought “even though this swim is short it helps center me and my day.” No coincidences:) PS…learned to surf three years ago at AGE 42 most humbling sport I have ever tried. No mid life crisis just “what’s next”. Been practicing swimming n surfing only for the last year driving up to central florida for WAVES n certainly in need of a surf coach! If you can send a PM would gladly look you up. Peace always.

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