Author Topic: Another solid article by Jon Coen on Dean Randazzo...  (Read 458 times)

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Offline SeaCliff

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Another solid article by Jon Coen on Dean Randazzo...
« on: May 06, 2009, 03:31:44 PM »
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  • Somers Point native Randazzo in the middle of latest surfing comeback from cancerBy JON COEN,  For The Press | 
                                                                                         

    Somers Point native Dean Randazzo surfs on a wave in Belmar last fall. Randazzo is starting to compete as a pro again and was in Egg Harbor Township this weekend to raise money for his cancer foundation.

     Photo by:  Ryan Miller                                                                                         

    There are few surfers in New Jersey who don't know the name Dean Randazzo. And those who are aware of this Somers Point native know him not only for his surfing, but his tale of determination in battling Hodgkin's disease. Recently, a new chapter opened on his storied career.

    Randazzo - the only New Jersey surfer to qualify for surfing's top international tour - is back in the water and trying to climb back up the ranks of the Association of Surfing Professionals' World Qualifying Series.

    The ASP, honoring his points from 2007, has granted him wildcards. He's surfed in the O'Neill Coldwater Classic in Tasmania, the Drug Aware Pro in Western Australia, and last week, the Nike 6.0 Lowers Pro in California.

    Though Randazzo has yet to get past the first round of these highly competitive events, he feels his strength returning with each session. He has recently earned a sponsorship with Millville-based Hyperflex wetsuits and appeared on Fuel TV's "The Daily Habit."
    "Australia was really challenging surf. I'm out there trying to get my strength back in bigger waves. My heat in Tasmania was six to eight foot, with ledgy, shifting, steep peaks," he said.

    Last Tuesday was the opposite, as he had to surf Lowers in tiny waves against 15-year-old Kolohe Andino, who weighs 100 pounds.
    "The new generation is throwing air reverses in smaller surf and tricks out the top of the wave. But most WQS judges still award for power rail turns, which is definitely my strength," Randazzo stated.

    At the same time Randazzo is competing, he continues to raise money for cancer research as part of his cancer foundation. This past weekend he returned to New Jersey for the sixth annual Golf for a Cause at McCullough's Emerald Links in Egg Harbor Township. Ninety-three people turned out on the links. Although his flight was delayed, Randazzo arrived at the course just in time for a BBQ dinner and award ceremony.

    "Everyone was just super stoked. We had such a great turn out and the rain held off," Randazzo said. "It was a really good vibe all afternoon and evening. The foundation is doing really good. It's great to be able to help more families."

    Lately, it's Randazzo that's needed some help with his health.

    For the better part of the last decade, he has undergone four major bouts with cancer that have included grueling chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and two stem cell transplants - all of which kept him out of the water for months at a time.

    Things seemed to be improving after his brother, Joe, donated stem cells for a transplant in 2008. He advanced to the semifinals of the Foster's Belmar Pro in New Jersey in September and was poised to hit the ASP series at the start of 2009. But in December he suffered a major setback when he contracted Graft-versus-host disease.

    "Basically, the white blood cells attack anything foreign. My body was rejecting my brother's stem cells. My tongue and mouth swelled up so much I couldn't even eat," Randazzo said.

    Doctors gave Randazzo medication to suppress his immune system, which made him particularly susceptible to other ailments. Following additional months out of the sun and water, he went to Hawaii in March to start rebuilding his body for competition.

    Starting Tuesday, Randazzo will be judging the Red Bull Riders Cup in Ocean City, a surfing tournament for local high school surf teams. For more information on his organization, go to www.deanrandazzocancerfoundation.org.
                                                                                 
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    Offline tummee

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    Re: Another solid article by Jon Coen on Dean Randazzo...
    « Reply #1 on: May 06, 2009, 03:56:37 PM »
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  • Always an inspiration. Would love to see him get back in shape and put Jerz on the competitive map again!