Dewey Beach’s Tyler Hudson recovering ‘like a champ’

Big Chill Surf Cantina fundraiser nets $44,000; more events set for Aug. 17, 24
August 6, 2021

While Tyler Hudson still has a long road to recovery from injuries sustained in a July 16 traffic accident, girlfriend Maddie Kelly says each day is better than the last.

Hudson, owner of Dewey Beach Surf Shop, has undergone multiple surgeries at Christiana Hospital since being airlifted to the trauma center after the collision. 

He was driving a moped to a birthday party when he struck a car that ran a stop sign; the man driving the car now faces felony third-offense DUI and felony first-degree vehicular assault charges.

Hudson’s mind is working well, Kelly said; he remembers everything leading up to the crash.

“But not the accident itself, which is for the best,” Kelly said. “He’s made so much progress so far, it’s been cool to watch how quickly he’s been able to progress.”

Hudson was in surgery almost every other day, Kelly said, but he is done with that for the time being after the last procedure on his arm several days ago. He will return for another surgery in five to six weeks because bone grafts are needed on his right leg and arm, she said.

“Every surgery makes me nervous, but he took every single one like a champ,” she said. “He was super happy the surgeon could line up the tattoos on his arm.”

Hudson can retain information now, Kelly said, and he has started asking questions about the accident.

“He’s blurry about his hospital stay, which nurses say is not unusual,” she said. “He’s curious, and he can’t wrap his head around why he’s still there.”

Never one to sit still, Hudson tries to move around more than nurses would like, Kelly said, but he can’t put weight on his right leg for another month or two.

“He loves flirting with the nurses to try to get more food,” she laughed. “It’s cool to see him come back to himself. All he wants to do is drink a White Claw on his boat.”

Hudson has been cleared for placement in an intensive rehabilitation center to be determined, whichever one is best for him, for an unknown time, Kelly said. He will be reevaluated every couple days before being sent home and will continue recovery with outpatient therapy or in-home care, she said.

Kelly said that his positive changes, along with everyone’s continued prayers and check-ins, have kept her motivated. 

“It makes it easier knowing everyone is behind him,” she said. “We have gotten only good news since the first day. We hold onto that on the bad days, and realize things could have been much worse. We have him, and that’s all that matters.”

Big Chill Surf Cantina fundraiser nets $44,000

The Tyler Palooza fundraiser held at Big Chill Surf Cantina July 27 netted $44,000 through guest bartenders donating tips, a $10,000 sales donation from Big Chill Surf Cantina, and auction items donated by local businesses and artists. 

The bar was packed all day and night, said General Manager AJ Borrero. 

“We wanted this event to be a way for the community to give back to Tyler, who has always supported our local community throughout the year with his business Dewey Beach Surf Shop,” Borrero said. 

Mike Ridings, owner of Big Chill Surf Cantina and Liquid Coastal Supply, worked with local artists Gel Clemmer and Laura Erickson to design a Dewey Strong T-shirt that was sold during the event with all proceeds benefiting Hudson. 

“The event was a huge success, and it was so great to see everyone come together for Tyler,” Ridings said. “We sold out of T-shirts within the first hour, but we have ordered a lot more which will be available for purchase at Dewey Beach Surf Shop here soon.” 

Event organizers and Hudson’s friends and family want to remind everyone to drive alert, and keep an eye out for scooters, cyclists and pedestrians.  

Upcoming fundraisers, donation opportunities

Scooter City will hold a fundraiser from 7 to 10 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 17, at its location, 37347 Rehoboth Avenue Extension just before the Rehoboth Avenue drawbridge. Cup’r Cone ice cream truck will be on hand with homemade treats, raffles and fresh grilled food will be available for purchase, and Scooter City will offer store promotions. A portion of all proceeds will go to Hudson and his family. Parking is available.

Another event, Tying Town Together, is set for Tuesday, Aug. 24, at Hyatt Place Dewey Beach Sunset Deck with a silent auction, raffles, live music and more. Details are still in the works; follow Dewey Beach Surf Shop on Facebook for updates. 

Donations for Hudson are being accepted at and at Dewey Beach Surf Shop, 2105 Coastal Highway.

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