We got to meet Anthony Radetic in person when we competed in last year’s Long Beach-to-Catalina Offshore Championship nearly a year ago. Radetic, a US Army veteran who was paralyzed in a motorcycle accident, impressed all in attendance and those whom he shared the water with that day, coming in the Top 20 riders aboard a RXP-X 260. Since then, Radetic has been actively riding and competing on Sea-Doos, most recentlythis past weekend at the AquaX race in Sarasota, FL. Prior to the race however, the Herald Tribute sat down with Radetic and discussed his road to racing.
“As a kid I always liked playing in the water, the 36-year-old stated. “I surfed. I wind-surfed. I water-skied. Water is the great equalizer out there. (After the accident) I had to get on a Jet Ski and try it out to see if I could do that. (Now) I feel equal with everyone else on the water … except for not being able to stand up.”
Radetic doesn’t remember the 15 minutes before or the 40 days after the 2004 accident that left him paralyzed, when a car hit his motorcycle as he was riding home near Fort Rucker, Alabama. After the accident, he needed three years to come to terms with his new handicap. After a period of depression, Radetic turned to the only remedy he knew: activity. Surfing, sadly no longer called to him, so he returned to skydiving. Now requiring a tandem partner, he passed, and learned to ski and cycle.
“None of it is quite the same as being out on the water,” Radetic said. The Herald writes, “Maybe, it’s because the experience reminds him the most of the motorcycles he used to love to ride. Mostly, Radetic thinks, it’s because he doesn’t need a special class or a laundry list of accommodations to race water scooters.”
Radetic races on the Sea-Doo team and maintains ties to Florida’s “Operation Second Chance,” an organization devoted to helping wounded veterans. “He’s just devoted to being incredible — everybody that meets him feels the same way,” said local coordinator Kevin Kenney, who met Radetic at a hunting trip for veterans last year. “There’s nothing he won’t try.”