Ocean Beach, CA (PressExposure) September 30, 2008 -- In September 1994, Tony Mezzadri had a tragic accident while surfing at the Ocean Beach pier. It was a typical beautiful San Diego morning and Tony was a happy, carefree young man of 24 years enjoying the exhilarating sport he had loved since childhood. In an instant, Tonyâs life was changed forever. On that memorable morning, he broke his neck, resulting in a severe spinal cord injury. In that moment, Tony's life changed dramatically. From then forward, it would be a life of depending on others for almost every physical need, a life in a wheelchair.
But Tonyâs life was anything but tragic.
Upon hearing of Tonyâs injury, South Coast Surf Shops and the Sunset Cliffs Surfing Association rallied in support of Tony and organized a surf contest in his honor. South Coast owner Rob Ard stepped up as a major contributor for the first Mezzadri Classic, and has never missed a contest since.
âIt was a beautiful expression of the brotherhood of surfing and an inspiring emotional boost. Knowing that so many people cared so much really lifted my spirits during a very difficult and long recovery,â Tony recalls when thinking about the first event. Tony went on to get a degree from the University of San Diego, started a career in real estate, and best of all, he says, married the most wonderful girl in the world.
Over the years, the Tony Mezzadri Surf Classic evolved into a benefit for spinal cord injury research. This two-day event has become one of the most popular events in Ocean Beach. Known also for its kick-off spaghetti dinner, featuring a silent auction, a raffle, a live band and tons of fun, itâs an enjoyable event for the entire family.
All proceeds benefit the UCSD Center for Neural Repair's Spinal Cord Regeneration Program under the direction of Dr. Mark Tuszynski. The Tony Mezzadri Surf Classic has raised over $175,000 for the UCSD Center for Neural Repairâs spinal cord regeneration program.
Entry fee for the contest is $50. A new surfing category of Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) has been added to this yearâs contest. Contestants are encouraged to enter and can go to [http://www.tonycontest.org] for an entry form.
The traditional Spaghetti Dinner and Silent Auction fundraiser will be held on September 26, 2008 the night before the surf contest at the Ocean Beach Masonic Hall from 5pm â 9pm. This year features a beer garden, live music, silent auction, opportunity drawing and multiple surfboard drawings. Tickets for the event are $8.00.
For further information contact Lee Edging at 619-980-4738 or [http://www.tonycontest.org], [http://www.southcoast.com]. Sponsorship opportunities still available.