Up Close – Joel Centeio

Callouts Nothing beats the feeling of winning I love to win!

That s the best feeling as a kid to get a trophy.

You have to focus on what you re doing now and not let the pressure get to you.

You should always try your hardest even if you lose, you just have to come back from it and try harder.


Up Close: Joel Centeio
Step By Step
By Jason Shibata

Before Joel Centeio was a seventeen-year-old international surf star, he was your typical kid growing up. Joel didn t start off as a full-time surf rat, he enjoyed playing Little League baseball a real wannabe JosÄ Canseco, that is. I used to be a first baseman. says Joel. He only completed T-ball and pee wee. Thankfully, he chose pro surfing instead of pro ball. I used to play baseball and surf at the same time, but I didn t get serious about surfing until I started entering contests, replies Joel. He took surfing head-on at age seven and never looked back. He chose surfing because he loves to be in the ocean and surfing s an individual sport. Whatever happens is because of you if you lose, it s all on you, but if you win, it s still all on you! says Joel.But not much has changed, cause he s still a wannabe. But now he emulates Taylor Knox or Andy Irons. It s like how he looked up to how Jose Conseco hit so many home runs he wants people to see him as smooth and powerful as Andy or Taylor.For Joel, growing up in Makakilo (southwest O ahu) has been great: I ve lived here all of my life, and I learned to surf right down the hill at Barber s. Surfing at Barber s has been the backbone of his competitive regiment with wins in Brazil, California, Japan, and all throughout the Hawai ian Islands.Although Joel lives about 45 minutes to an hour away from the North Shore, it doesn t bother him that much. It was hard to get to the country before I got my driver s license because it was so far away, he says. I d just surf around here, but now that I can drive myself, I m there all the time. In order to become the best, you need to be dedicated and focused on what you want to achieve. Joel has disciplined himselfto live a clean drug-free lifestyle and set a path he wants to follow. Love what you do and go hard at it this is what s gotten Joel to where he is today and what s going to take him to where he wants to be in the future. One step at a time.[IMAGE 2]

Who did you start surfing with? Kekoa Bacalso, Macy Mullen, and you, Jason Shibata.

Why d you start surfing? I just wanted to be in the ocean! At first I started playing around in the shorebreak and then standing up on my bodyboard with Kekoa. The next thing I knew, my dad got me a six-two and it just went from there.

Did you think you d ever be famous from surfing? Not really, not as a kid I didn t know what surfing had to offer. Then I started entering contests and things just went from there.

How old were you? I was ten. I did the HSFs Hawaiian Surfing Federation in the Menehune division twelve and under. I had so much fun and started winning contests eventually, I got sponsored.

Did you enter contests because you wanted to be a pro surfer? No, I just entered to get a trophy. That s the best feeling as a kid to get a trophy. I started doing well, kept at it, and never gave up.

What companies do you represent? Hurley International, HIC, Reef, Arnette, and On A Mission.

Who s helped you along the way? Rainos Hayes has helped me out so much through my amateur career with the NSSA Nationals, the Worlds, and all of the local contests. Also, my parents supported me by taking me toall the contests as a kid and just being there for me. Alot of my friends have pushed my surfing to what it is now.

Who are your favorite surfers? Andy Irons and Taylor Knox. I really like their fluid style and how they never hold back. When they surf, they re always going big especially in contests.

What arsome of your thoughts on being a photo guy compared to a contest guy ? I think being a photo surfer can be a lot more fun because you can just go out, surf good waves, and try new maneuvers things you normally wouldn t do in a contest. But as far as being a contest surfer, you really have to go for it. You can t hold back and worry about falling or what s happening later on. You have to focus in on what you re doing now and not let the pressure get to you.

Which of the two do you see yourself as? I see myself doing both. I really like to shoot photos and surf good waves, but I also love to compete. Nothing beats the feeling of winning! I love to win!

[IMAGE 3]What are some of your most recent wins? My biggest win was the ISA World Surfing Games in Brazil I got first in the Juniors. That s the greatest accomplishment I ve ever done: competing against the world s best juniors and to win there s no better feeling.

What were your thoughts going into Brazil? Did you think you had a chance at winning? Actually, at first, I did think I had a chance at winning, but it never really clicked in. I just started to take it heat by heat and get to the final. Once I finally got to the final, I focused on what I had to do win!

Were you intimidated going into that heat? There were three of Brazil s best juniors and you. I knew they surfed really solid. Not only that, but I was competing against them in their own country. In a way, I knew the pressure was on them everyone had such high expectations for them so I kind of used that to my advantage. I was the underdog, so I just went out there and surfed. I caught my waves and did what I had to do.

That contest was right before the Nationals. That must ve done a lot for your confidence. Yeah, the feeling was unbelievable. It s hard to explain I was just flying so high.

How did you finish up? I won the high school men s division, took second in the Explorer Juniors, and second in the Open Mens.

What are your plans after you graduate? I want to do as many WQS events as possible to get a good seed for 2002.

What s your main goal? I want to qualify for the WCT and eventually win a World Title. First, I just want to take it step by step and make the CT and get into the top ten. Then just focus on becoming World Champ.

Who s your biggest rival? Probably Sean Moody. In the last couple of years it s been between me and him at Nationals. If I don t win, then he does. He s been getting lucky the last couple of years laughs, but there s also Jamie O Brien you can never count him out. He blows up, and when he puts things together, he s hard to beat. Also, the younger kids like Kekoa Bacalso and Dustin Cuizon have a lot of potential and have a big future ahead of them.

What s it like growing up in Hawai i as a young surfer? Other kids around the world have all of these images of it, but what s your take on it? I grew up here all of my life, and I can t imagine living anywhere else. I really love the laid-back lifestyle and the culture. The true aloha spirit everyone is nice, and the food is good. I love surfing at home home is home. Everyone comes here at the end of the year to do the Triple Crown, but they usually only stay for like two weeks to a month, but this is where I live, and it s great.

Where have you been because of surfing? Western Samoa, Fiji, France, Australia, Brazil, Mexico, and Japan.

Have you been to Indo?No! Come on, Checkwood! Hook the boys up with a trip laughs!

Of all of the places you ve mentioned, which one is your favorite? Whether it s because of the waves, the people, the culture, or whatever. I really enjoyed Western Samoa cause the people there were some of the nicest I ve ever met, the food was insane, and the waves were always fun.

What kind of advice do you have for young kids out there aspiring to become pro surfers? In whatever you do, never give up, and stay focused. You should always try your hardest even if you lose, you just have to come back from it and try harder. Just keep on going, cause everyone loses. Love what you do!

and stay focused. You should always try your hardest even if you lose, you just have to come back from it and try harder. Just keep on going, cause everyone loses. Love what you do!