Sand Dollars

Surfers Create Scholarship To Honor Life Of Shark Attack Victim, Arthur Medici

Arthur Medici
Written by Brian Tarcy

WELLFLEET – The overriding reason that a handful of Outer Cape surfers started a scholarship fund in Arthur Medici’s name was to honor his life and take some of the focus off of his well-publicized death.

In September 2018, Medici was killed by a great white shark while bodyboarding in the waves off of Newcomb Hollow Beach. He was 26 years old.

In September 2020 at the two-year memorial of the attack, said surfer and retired banker Jim Papadonis, a group of wave riders “were talking about how we really want to keep this poor kid’s memory alive and really honor him.” Wave riders, said Papadonis, is a term which includes surfers, stand-up paddle boarders, body boarders and body surfers.

“The folks on this committee didn’t know Arthur,” said Papadonis. “But when we learned about his life, we had this draw. He was such a wonderful kid. So young.”

According to a fundraising page for the scholarship fund, Medici “was born in Vitoria, Espirito Santo, Brazil in 1992. He graduated from the University of Vila Velha before moving to the United States in 2014 to continue his studies in engineering at Bunker Hill Community College. After graduation, Arthur hoped to have a career as a civil engineer.”

“He was a Brazilian body boarding champion,” said Papadonis. “That day he was putting on quite a show in the water.”

Papadonis noted that Medici was “deeply religious” and also caring and compassionate.

“He was a waterman, he was spiritual, he was generous, he was talented in music,” said Papadonis of some of the great qualities of Medici’s short life.

In the spirit of that life, Papadonis said the Arthur Medici Memorial Scholarship Committee will be giving out at least one $1,000 scholarship, pledged by an anonymous donor, every year to a student from Nauset High School.

The committee is also raising money in the hope of giving out more annual scholarships. (See the information at the bottom of this story to donate.)

The committee is comprised of co-chairs Chris Zocca and Joan Leary, both of Harwich; Deb Felix of Wellfleet; Bob Mei of Harwich; Drew Taylor of Wellfleet, and Papadonis of Brewster and Jensen Beach, Florida.

Nauset High, said Papadonis, was the obvious choice for where to give out the scholarship. Sharks, he said, “are primarily an Outer Cape issue.”

The committee will choose the scholarship winners based on the characteristics of Medici’s life. “The spirituality and generosity are the biggest piece to it,” said Papadonis.

But while honoring Medici’s life is the main reason the group started the scholarship fund, Papadonis said, there is more to it.

Arthur Medici

Signs warning of sharks at Newcomb Hollow
Beach in late September 2018

“We all knew this was going to happen. It was not a matter of if but when,” said Papadonis. “We all know it could have been any one of us, any one of our kids our family or our friends.”

“We all knew that someday somebody was going to get attacked by a shark, and we never really did anything about it. So there’s some guilt,” he said.

Since then, Papadonis and others have formed the nonprofit Cape Cod Ocean Community, a non-profit working on shark mitigation strategies. Papadonis is a member of the board of directors for CCOC.

Arthur Medici

A memorial at Newcomb Hollow Beach shortly after the great white shark attack that took Arthur Medici’s life.

There are three ways to donate:

– Donations to the Arthur Medici Memorial Scholarship Fund can be mailed to: Cape Cod Ocean Community, P.O. Box 297 South Wellfleet, Ma. 02663

– Donations by credit card can be made on at the CCOC website:

Arthur Medici Memorial Scholarship – Cape Cod Ocean Community, Inc. ( 

  Donations can also be made by texting “MEDICI” to: 508-206-9255

– Please like Cape Cod Wave on Facebook.

See the story Cape Cod Sharks + Surfers; A Changing Equation

All Cape Cod Wave Surfing Stories

Cape Cod Wave Magazine covers the character & culture of Cape Cod. Please see our Longform stories.

About the author

Brian Tarcy

Brian Tarcy is co-founder of Cape Cod Wave. He is a longtime journalist who has written for the Boston Globe, Boston magazine, the Cape Cod Times and several other publications. He is the author of "YOU CAN'T SELL RIGHT FIELD; A Cape Cod Novel." He is also the author or co-author of more than a dozen mostly non-fiction books, including books with celebrity athletes Cam Neely, Tom Glavine and Joe Theisman. His previous book was, "ALMOST: 12 Electric Months Chasing A Silicon Valley Dream" with Hap Klopp,who created the iconic brand, The North Face.
For more information, see
Brian is a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan with a long-running NFL predictions/political satire column connecting weekly world events to the fate of his favorite team, now at

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