One Kook’s Safari> Chip Miller festival is Saturday

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A rider shows off his form on a summer wave. A rider shows off his form on a summer wave. There have been some nice shaped waves this week, but the water temperature still hasn’t come back from the big drop when Hurricane Arthur rolled by. Several days saw waist-high swell, short of the head-high waves Arthur brought, but plenty of fun for those who keep their neoprene handy, or are willing to shiver a little.

The latest water temperature was 62.

Lance Miller isn’t worried about the cold this weekend, though.

“That’s OK,” he said. “We’re supposed to have waves, and that’s all that counts.”

He is in Ocean City to help Nick Bricker, his friend since childhood, run the 11th annual Chip Miller Surf Festival Saturday, July 19 at the Seventh Street beach.

He expects thousands to turn out to the beach, some 150 to 200 surfers participating in the contest itself, followed by a big after-party at Greate Bay Country Club in Somers Point, kicking off at 5:30 p.m.

The party and the festival raise money for the Chip Miller Charitable Foundation. So far, it has brought in more than $100,000. Chip Miller, Lance’s dad, died in 2004, months after being diagnosed with amyloidosis, a rare disease that can affect the internal organs. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, the exact cause is unknown, but there are treatments available.

For Lance Miller, of Carlisle, Pa., that is why raising awareness is as important as raising money. He wants as many people as possible to know about the disease and its symptoms. He said doctors could have made a difference if the diagnosis came sooner.

“If we knew earlier, he could still be here today,” Miller said. “We want to encourage everyone to look up online and learn about amyloidosis.”

The disease occurs when an unusual protein, called an amyloid, is produced in bone marrow and deposited on tissue or organs. Symptoms depend on the affected organ, and can include swelling of the ankles, weakness or fatigue, unexplained weight loss, shortness of breath, skin changes, and others.

Chip Miller is described as one of those guys everybody wanted to know and was thrilled to be friends with. Bricker describes him as a second father, and others say he was incredibly special.

The event has turned into an annual reunion, Lance Miller said.

“It’s become much bigger than just a contest,” Miller said.

The coompetition includes a parent-child heat, which he described as “something a little different.”

He and Bricker want to keep the contest fun, and welcoming to families.

“It’s very much geared toward families. My father was my best friend,” he said.

It’s not too late for surfers to participate.

Registration is available before the contest at www.chipmiller.org, and there are forms at local surf shops. Check-in is 7 a.m. at Seventh Street on Saturday, at a cost of $35, plus $10 for each additional division. Admission to the after-party in Somers Point is also $35, and there is a combo available for $65. Otherwise, Miller said those interested should come by the beach on Saturday to watch the fun.

After a warm June, most surfers are digging out various kinds of wetsuits for July. The water is in the 60s. After a warm June, most surfers are digging out various kinds of wetsuits for July. The water is in the 60s. Miller said that in putting the contest together, he and Bricker looked to the long-running Brendan Borek High Tides Memorial Fund in Avalon.
This year’s is set for Aug. 2 and is preceded by a week of other events throughout town. The event has been going since 1992, and raises money for local families with a child facing cancer. Rather than funding research or treatment, the fund helps out with those numerous other expenses, from lodging for parents when a child travels for treatment, to Christmas gifts for the other kids in the family.

A couple of other items to catch up on with the local surf community: Maddie Peterson of Wildwood Crest is still making waves. At 16 years old, she recently took first in the Rip Curl Grom Search in Huntington Beach, Calif., and placed second in both the National Scholastic Surfing Association women’s high school championship in Salt Creek and the Surfing American U-16 U.S. Championships in Lower Trestles and finished fourth in the NSSA open women’s championship in Huntington Beach.

And local favorite, Dean Randazzo, the founder of the Dean Randazzo Cancer Foundation and a world-class surfer out of Atlantic City, is set to be honored as the 2014 person of the year by the Atlantic City chapter of UNICO international at a dinner Friday night, July 18.

UNICO is an Italian-American service organization that seeks to combat stereotypes.

“I feel extremely privileged to be honored by my Italian heritage,” Randazzo said in a statement posted to his website. “UNICO is such an amazing organization that helped me learn about my Italian roots. I’m surprised and excited to be recognized by such an outstanding group.”

Some of the Hurricane Arthur-powered waves came in overhead and clean. Some of the Hurricane Arthur-powered waves came in overhead and clean.


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