Rock íní surf for charitable cause
The Island Rockers of Anna Maria Island are bound for Cocoa Beach in September. Islander Photo: Courtesy Joanie Shymanski Mills
Decades ago, two young brothers — twins Rich and Phil Salick — left Anna Maria Island bound for the East Coast and surfing glory.
This summer, another group of Island kids will leave for the East Coast seeking rock ’n’ roll glory and performing a good deed.
The Island Rockers will perform in September at the 25th annual NKF Pro-Am Surfing Festival co-founded by the Salick twins in 1975 and locally promoted by their sister Joanie Shymanski Mills of Holmes Beach. It’s not a coincidence that Mills is the mother of Island Rockers guitarist Brandon Mills, who also has earned his own share of surfing praise.
Proceeds from the surf festival in Cocoa Beach raise money for the National Kidney Foundation. The Salicks describe the festival as the largest charitable surfing event in the world, having raised millions for the foundation’s patient services and advocacy, public education programs and research work.
Phil Salick is a member of the NKF of Florida board of trustees, as well as a member of the Surfing Hall of Fame. He’s also a kidney donor, having donated an organ in 1974 to Rich, a three-time kidney transplant recipient, as well as the director of community relations for NKF of Florida and a member of the Surfing Hall of Fame.
The brothers are lining up support for the foundation and the festival around the state — dozens of sponsors and donors for auctions — as well as recruiting participants.
Meanwhile, Mills and the Island Rockers are working for the cause on Anna Maria Island and trying to raise at least $1,000 for the band’s travel expenses. The band features students of Scott “Mr. A” Achor’s Island Rock School — Lexi Achor, 13, on lead vocals; Abbey Achor, 9, on bass; Ethan Bertrand, 9, on drums; and Brandon Mills, 10, on guitar and Mr. A.
“What I’m trying to do … is provide accommodations for them for the weekend,” said Mills. “Imagine the band playing on the beach in front of thousands of people who have come out to support the NKF.… The Island Rockers are going to play for the largest charity surfing event in the world.”
The band is selling merchandise — T-shirts and beverage koozies — to raise money, as well as autographed band photographs.
Island Rockers’ merchandise outlets include:
Holmes Beach — The Islander office, 5404 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, Duffy’s Tavern, 5808 Marina Drive and West Coast Surf Shop, 3902 Gulf Drive.
Bradenton Beach — Back Alley, 121 Bridge St.
Anna Maria — School For Constructive Play, 304 Pine Ave., Feeling Swell, 9903 Gulf Drive, and Anna Maria Island Community Center, 407 Magnolia Ave.
Mills suggested that Islanders also set aside some travel money for themselves. “Anyone who has never been to one of these surf festivals should consider coming over to Cocoa Beach for Labor Day weekend to see some of the worlds best surfers compete,” she said. “It’s three days of professional and amateur surfing, lots of vendors on the beach and the Taste of Brevard Silent Auction on Sunday night, where you can bid on some fantastic items while dining on delicious foods provided by local restaurants.”