A Farewell to Greats


The Early Years


I started to write with the idea that I was losing 2 things from my life. Then I received news of a third and even a fourth. So I will keep the original two then go into the last two.

(From the original post)

Sometimes things that can seem so distant can be tied together tighter than two Siamese twins. That is why these few weeks are going to mark the farewell to two greats. One is a person. Mike Martin passed away a few days ago. The other is a the first waterpark and it is in icon that I worked at; Wet n Wild.

I showed up at the Human Resource office as a self-centered teen and left as a responsible supervisor with an eye for detail and safety. The management team provided me with the first real mentorship and Mr. Millay distilled in us a sense of doing things correctly and working as a team to find completion.

Was it all serious? This was the 80s so there was a lot of crazy parties and other outlandish tales. But no matter the weather, the crowds, or public perception of lifeguards; once we got into position we were focused on the guests and their safety.

Then there was Mike Martin.

Mike was the head judge for the ASP.

He came on about the time that surfing was trying to become a bit more professional. So he wrote and become the overseer of the rules.

Being a kid at the contests, Mike was always very pleasant and talked to me about my surfing. As a pro, he continued this and explained things to me in a way that I got why I lost the heat.

Mike was also very cut and dry with all of us.

I would consider myself to be a regional pro although I competed abroad. There were others that had more clout than I did and Mike viewed us all the same. As people that had to obey the rules.

One morning we were free surfing in the contest site and Mike came over the loud speaker.

Surfers! We will be starting in 15 minutes! Clear the water now.

I scrambled to come in but others still sat out there waiting for more waves.

Surfers! We are starting in 5 minutes! Clear the water NOW!

As I was strolling out on the beach, I began to hear the more famous names being called out over the intercom system.

Famous Surfer #1! That is a 200 dollar fine!

Famous Surfer #2!  You also earned a 200 dollar fine!

So we can safely say that testing the rules was not an option with Mike at the helm.

If you read some of my tales in my blog in regards to my trips, you have to realize that my employer made it all possible. I wrote about going to California with no idea when I was coming back. I stayed 3 months total. During this time (this is very old), my management team would double schedule me and print up a time card. Then I would not show up. They did this for 3 months and when I showed up I got a big welcome back and returned to work. So the park really helped me accomplish my dreams and live out my adventures. Even after I stepped into a managerial role. Of course I was more professional and scheduled my time off.

So tonight I am taking my son to the farewell party of Wet and Wild. I will see my old friends, co-workers, and employees.

Now for the updated part of my post…


Dana Brown – 16th Street Pushup King and all around great guy. Photo from Burry.


The importance of family can never be measured. Dana Brown and his father were fixtures at 16th Street in Cocoa Beach for eons. Dana sacrificed a lot to watch over his father and things were never easy for them as they lived a lifestyle that is not acceptable in these times. Then last year, sadly Mr. Brown passed on.

The other day, Dana was on a trip to California and suffered a horrific accident at the pier in Huntington Beach and later passed on.

So I need to toss in a video for Noise to Note! since it is a weekend.

During my younger years, my friends and I would pop into the Go Lounge in our club district. The Go Lounge was a small pub and in the corner was an old jukebox. We often played Leonard Cohen. It fit the vibe of the place. A bit rough around the edges but poetic.

First We Take Manhattan – Leonard Cohen



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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2 Responses to A Farewell to Greats

  1. Sorry to hear of you losing friends and of Wet n Wild’s farewell – one of my favourite memories of a Florida holiday.

    • 1stpeaksteve says:

      I always remember you telling me of how much fun it meant for your family and your grandmother.

      I do have to say that the new park is going to be amazing. Universal has that special touch when it comes to going above and beyond. Apply what they did with Harry Potter to a water park and you get the idea!

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