Farewell to Dick Catri



Portrait of Dick by Phil Roberts


Although the hub of Brevard County surfing was only a few miles to the south, I sat in crystal clear water without a soul to be seen as far as the eyes could see. Sets poured in. I rode to my hearts desire blasting turns without the hassle and hustle that was taking place a few scant miles down the beach.

When I come in, I made my way up the boardwalk to the backyard and hosed off the salt water.

You got some good rides buddy! My father offered me something to drink. Then the owner of the house chimed in.

I like how you went into the first turn right when you took off. That floater…do that.

I knew when you had a person with the pedigree of Dick Catri giving advice then you should pay attention.

Dick made us dinner. Tomorrow would be a long day for the both of them. Another surf contest. I would be surfing and taking notes.



My buddy John Ubbink, Dick Catri, and myself at the Florida Pro


Dick passed away the other day and the tributes began to fill up my social media feeds. For the sport of surfing, his contributions were huge. He came up as a contest surfer representing Florida and began to shape surfboards. He also made the transition from contest surfer to surf contest administrator and his events provided a platform for countless surfers to gain experience and to earn the money necessary to travel and to make a name in professional surfing.

Under his label of Catri Surfboards, he picked up some kids to surf on his team. For many of them, it was the first steps into the framework of sponsorship and many took the next steps to up the level of their career paths. The biggest was Kelly Slater.



My father, Frank Zima, and Dick at the Sundek Classic



Dad and Friends

Frank Zima, Dick Catri, and John Griffin

As I line up my turn and pull myself high up the wave face to gain some speed, it will because of some words spoken to me by surfers such as Dick, Pete Dooley, Peter Townend, Rabbit Bartholomew, and Greg Taylor. People who took the time to give me direction that I would use over countless waves and whose words I would recite so often that they would imbed into my being. As a grom will be out at the inlet reciting my words as they remember to pull up their arms to get more lift.

And like Dick Catri and many other important people in my life, I will strive to give and not just take.

The tao of Dick Catri.





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Noise to Note! – 140

Noise to Note!

A while back, I saw that one of the great early punk bands was coming into town on their 40th Anniversary Tour. I watched some videos and saw some from several years back and the performances were spotty. Their famous guitarist had to stop touring and they seemed to be not at 100%.

Then I saw a more recent video. I loved what one of the singers was saying about life. I also noticed her weight gain and more negatives were coming into my mind. But at the end, the interviewer took the singer out into a garden area and began to play a song. Her voice was better than ever. In fact, it was impressive.

Then I read some reviews from previous dates and they all said the same thing – This band was firing on all cylinders.

I bought a ticket and did not know any friends who were going.

So I walked into the club alone and within a minute found some old friends. I was stoked!

And the performance?

If I told you I watched a band comprised of 60 year olds and the guitarist had to sit in a chair the whole show time; one would only imagine how awful it was.


They played with an energy that was impossible not to notice. The guitar playing was top-notch and the chemistry was back.

The band was X. Their performance of I See Red was more frantic than the studio version and yet not out of control. It was a performance that 40 years of playing together can only create.

X – I See Red

Sometimes, you just have to take a chance. More than likely, you can deal with whatever happens.

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Thankful That I Still Got Stoke!


First off, what do myself, Jason Apprecio, Chris Makris, and Jimmy Parker all have in common?

We were all pro surfers. Traveling together and not always getting the win or the big cash check. Just guys trying to fulfill their dreams. And, there are lots of us out there scattered in various countries around the world.

As life moves forward, we have to make an exit and transition onward. Some of us do great and others for what I have seen tend to struggle with the changes that come with gaining a family or being employed outside of the surfing bubble.

Personally, I dislike people that brag and try to one up people so it is weird to be in a situation in which you want to tell people your stories but you also want them the others to not feel like you are trying to steal their thunder. So, I try to spare people from a constant barrage of my stories unless they really want to know and in my case, my stories are a bit more outlandish than most.

So to up the cringe factor for me(It is odd putting your thoughts out to the world), I recently had a very wonderful opportunity to answer some questions about my experiences and things today and the struggle we all must face as adults in balancing our lives. And as I gave this interview, I faced even more pressures from work and I had to step up and take my own advice. My answer was to tackle a few issues that have been real time killers for me to get some of my life back!!

So thanks to Kirsty Hill for the support! You can check out her site to see how her adventures are going in the sport of surfing here in the tropical waters of the U.K.:

Kernow Surf Girl

And to read the article about my thoughts on finding balance here at Still Got Stoke. Check out their other articles which give perspective on a variety of subjects such as advice from older athletes and the perspectives of female athletes. Good stuff!

Steve at Still Got Stoke


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Noise to Note! #139

Noise to Note!


A great song? There are many.

This could go on a list of the perfect songs. Even live in a studio.

The Cure – Just Like Heaven

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Improve Your Surfing – And More! Pt. 2


Sometimes you have to do a few of these


So by now you have been thinking if improving your surfing is what you want to do. After some mulling and after being cut off by a 12 year old girl on a bodyboard; you have decided that the answer is yes!

Next you must set some goals and change some bad habits. You should:

  • Plan

At my local beach, I pull up into the parking lot with the other surfers. They jump out and put on the wetsuit or wax up and within 10 minutes they are in the water. I walk down and watch the waves. Where are the best waves coming in at? What is the best route out? Are there alternative areas that are offering some sections that the others have not noticed? Then I warm up and finally paddle out. By the end of the day, I may not have caught more waves than anyone else but the stand out waves will more than likely see me on them.

I also plan out what I want to do for the day. Surf more vertical. Work on a particular trick. By focusing on an area, I am doing more than just catching waves and blindly just goofing off.



To do a few of these.

  • Practice

To go even further, sometimes us contest types like to block out our surf sessions. So for 30 to 40 minutes we just try to do one type of turn. For example, just doing cutbacks for 30 minutes even if the section says do an air. Basically it is like a golfer practicing putting or driving. Repetition helps improve the fundamentals.

Practice should also involve developing a solid training routine. Yoga is a great tool as well.

  • Choices

As a young surfer, I just had fun and surfed. My improvement in surfing came on the back of more pressing issues such as my education. As a pro, I had to face reality. Just surfing and goofing off in the water was not going to help me. My biggest improvements came when I was forced to leave my beloved sponsors store in Satellite Beach and I was sent to the Cocoa Beach store as an amateur. I was named as the Team Captain but was still required to actively participate in practices. The real coaches were guys that judged at the top level. From them, I learned how to analyze and plan.

So my life then became a lesson on doing something now or later. For example, to me taking an hour to write this post is important to my website. I also have more cleaning to do in my house. At no point today did I spend more than 15 minutes on Facebook. Everyone has the same 24 hours in a day and like many; my free time seems to short. So do you really not have any time to work out for 30 minutes?

An employee once told me that they did not have any free time during their shift to take a break. They said that they had far to much time piled upon them and if they took a 30 minute break then they would never finish their work.

I then questioned what I saw during their shift. They stopped to speak to their bank representative who put them on hold for 15 minutes and the calls from their family members. There team also stopped from time to time to drink coffee for a few minutes. All this time would add up to a break so that was her answer. You should clock out for your break and do all of these activities on your own time. Which in our own lives means what is the biggest priority? Is it working out or watching a few television shows?

The time is there. You just have to make it the priority.

Some Resources

Of course I ask people to search in my blog for some useful tips. Here are a few that should be read:

A Current Affair

Doing a Solid Cutback

Take the High Road Redux

For a good surf specific workout I highly recommend either Chris Mills or Clayton Beatty from Surf Snow Fitness.

Chris Mills

Clayton Beatty

So of course…More to come! And questions are welcome! Except from Mulletkiller.



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Improve Your Surfing – And More! Pt. 1


Jr. finals of the Easter Surfing Festival.


Surfing is not an easy sport. So I will start off with the disclaimer:

If you are out of shape or have an injury; please consult a professional and get it done the correct way. Do not wing it and further injure yourself.

Now back to the fun!

Be What You Want!

If you have followed my blog, you may have caught the stories about my childhood. I was a frail pint-sized kid in Hawaii with poor motor skills. I was awful at just about everything I did. Yet, I knew I was going to be a professional surfer after opening up the first magazine that I ever laid eyes upon.

Is this realistic? For a 40 year old parent learning to surf; probably not. But we all have the power to improve. To achieve this we have to lose some things to gain in the long run. We have to lose the fixed mindset that hinders us.

I am not good at math.

I have terrible balance.

I can not do that!

If you have this mindset then you are right! You will not do it! You gave up before you worked to conquer the obstacle that you believe is in your way.

Coaching Alex

Growing up, I lived a few blocks from the beach. By the time I came to my current hometown, I was already a solid surfer. So moving inland only took a few shifts in focus and I was on my way.

Later, I was given my first role as a surf coach for a surf shop. I began to scout out some talent to add to the team. Through a tip and a stack of letters I found a kid named Alex. Alex was a decent surfer for his young age but he was a far better skateboarder. From watching him skate, I noticed that he had developed a great style and his mechanics were decent too. I knew that this would provide the base to build and improve his surfing. I signed him up as fast as possible!

As we begun to surf together more frequently, he was always checking in and soliciting feedback on what he needed to work on. This separated him from the other kids as they waited for me to give feedback and were not as active in applying what I was teaching them.

With this attitude, he was eventually collecting trophies and doing well in an area known for the talent pool. I also made a big decision. We were in between two districts. One had talented surfers but the exposure level was lower and so was the overall depth of the field. He could easily qualify through this district.

The other was far harder and in fact it was the top district in the United States at that time. Qualifying would be extremely difficult. I signed him up for the second one. Competing against the best is the sure fire way to improve yourself.

Oh yeah! Alex lived 45 minutes from the beach on a good day and he was a minor so he had to get people to drive him if his parents could not go. So yes, you can be a bit inland and improve too! No excuses!

Now for you!

Step 1.

Decide that you can improve your surfing! If you are just dropping in to my site out of curiosity and surfing is not your thing then do not worry. This applies to a lot of other areas including your job performance, your eating habits, or whatever it is you are aiming to do. You do not have to set your goals as being a 75 year old pilot of a rocket to Mars if it is not feasible. Everyone wants to be decent and you can be a competent surfer and improve where you are at now.

The next steps will be coming very soon.

I promise!

And as usual…Feel free to ask any questions regarding your issues in the water. From basic questions to the super technical; I will gladly give advice.



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Noise to Note! #138

Some psychedelia infused into your music will only spruce things up a tad.

So will some reverb on the vocals and songs crafted upon the feel of riding down an empty highway on your bike.

Ask The Cult or The Jesus and Mary Chain.

The Black Angels – Bad Vibrations

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