World-class surfer, crusader to be remembered

Rich Salick, 62, died July 2 from complications associated with kidney disease.

His life will be celebrated Oct. 6 on Anna Maria Island, almost where he began, at the Manatee Public Beach in Holmes Beach.

The family, including sister Joanie Mills of Holmes Beach, plans to host a celebration of life at 3 p.m. and paddle out before sunset at 6 p.m. They welcome all of their extended family and friends to participate. Any sort of surf or paddle board, raft or craft will suffice, or partake from shore.

The celebration party will be for sharing memories on the beach, fittingly on Rich and twin Phil’s birthday.

The Salick twins grew up on the smooth, glassy waves of the Manatee Public Beach on Anna Maria Island.

Rich went on to greatness, induction in 2000 to the East Coast Surfing Hall of Fame and founder with Phil of the National Kidney Foundation Pro Am Surf Festival.

Rich received three kidney transplants from siblings, including the first from Phil.

His legacy as a surfer — No. 1 ranked surfer on the East Coast in the 24-35 age group in 1980 — and as an inspiration to people affected by kidney disease will live on.

He and Phil began their legacy with a surfing competition in Cocoa Beach, where they had moved to pursue the perfect wave. They opened a surf shop, created a brand of boards and from that was born the world’s largest charitable surfing competition — drawing tens of thousands of spectators to Cocoa Beach on Labor Day weekend. This year was the 27th tournament and was expected to raise some $125,000 for the NKF Orlando chapter.

The twins also opened a highway for surfers trekking from Anna Maria to Cocoa Beach to catch a wave and learn from the best of the best, and to purchase a coveted Salick surfboard. Their surf shop and board-making enterprise operated from the 1970s-80s.

Over the course of 38 years, Rich received transplants from twin Phil in 1974, older brother Channing Salick in 1986 and younger brother Wilson Shymanski in 1999.

“He was the heart and soul of the National Kidney Foundation. He personified who we are and what we do,” Stephanie Hutchinson, chief executive officer of the organization’s Orlando-based Florida chapter told Florida Today on his death.

Memorial donations may be made by mail to the National Kidney Foundation of Florida, Patient Services Program, 1040 Woodcock Road, Suite 119, Orlando FL 32803 or by calling 800-927-9659.

Salick is survived by Phil, sister Joanie and husband Tony Mills and their son Brandon of Holmes Beach, brother Rosser Shymanski, son Philip, stepson David Morgan, and ex-wife Michele Brenner Salick.

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2 thoughts on “World-class surfer, crusader to be remembered

  1. Doug Pittman

    Rich was an insperation to all with a big heart. His contributions to the Kidney Foundation will have a incredible and positive impact for years, much to learn and to admire of his contributions and positive attitude. Surf On Rich!

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