Ocean City Today

Dalkiewicz discusses friend, surfer, Realtor, PJ Aldridge

Surf Report
By Dave Dalkiewicz | Jan 18, 2018

(Jan. 19, 2018) We lost a good guy this past week. PJ Aldridge finally succumbed to the lung cancer that was supposed to take him a long time ago.

Back in the 1980s, PJ along with his brother, Mark, and a few friends lived upstairs from my shop. I can recall sponsoring him and Mark and a few others to represent Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Eastern Surfing  Association contests.

He did well enough to make regionals, the Eastern Championships and one year he went all the way to the United States champs, which he and Gary Hastings surfed in, that year in Hawaii.

Not only was PJ a talented surfer of note but he went on to gain a degree from Salisbury University and proceed to a career as a Realtor in the Ocean City area.

In true surfer fashion he learned of his malady while on a trip, surfing in Costa Rica. He got plenty busy with his own foundation doing what he could to raise money for lung cancer research. His diagnosis was of stage four but I think it only served to drive him harder in his fight to help others along with himself.

His foundation even got the attention of Oprah Winfrey to the point of Winfrey inviting PJ to appear on her show to help in promotion. A car was part of the arrangement which PJ donated to a raffle to benefit the new cancer and medical center now located near the North Gate of Ocean Pines.

I got to know his family, especially Mark, to the point of going a long distance to purchase one of the few new vehicles that I’ve had. Members of his family had a Ford dealership in Lexington Park in Southern Maryland where PJ was originally from. Wish I still had that 1985 F-150 pick-up truck.

Surfing, and especially surfers, often get a bad reputation for being unruly, lazy, and non-productive, sponging off of others, only caring about the next wave. There is some truth to this notion but it’s quite minimal; a bad rap so to speak.

PJ was anything but. He was a credit to his family, friends, profession and surfing in general. You couldn’t have met a more friendly, upstanding person. He became a part of the fabric of this area choosing to live by the ocean with all it has to offer.

An obituary appeared in the Jan. 12 issue of OC Today starting on page 27. A memorial gathering is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 20 at 11 a.m. at the Ocean City Marlin Club in the West Ocean City Harbor.  There is also talk of a paddle out on Sunday, Jan. 21. I’m sure details of such will be available at the memorial. Notice is short by the time this column comes out, but try to make the gathering if you knew PJ to show your respects.

Rest in peace, PJ my friend. Thanks for your inspiration. You were one of the good guys.

— Dave Dalkiewicz is the owner of Ocean Atlantic Surf Shop in Ocean City

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