Salick Memorial Service Set For July 7 – Paddle Out Is July 8 At Slater Way

By  //  July 6, 2012

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ABOVE VIDEO: Brothers Phil and Rich Salick and Dr. Craig Tischer, Dean of Medicine at the University of Florida, share their beginnings, inspirations and 26-year tradition of surfers saving lives. (Video by Bill Hahn)



(Beach casual attire)
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to: National Kidney Foundation of Florida for the Patient Services Program, 1040 Woodcock Road, Suite 119, Orlando, Fl, 32803, or call 1-800-927-9659

SLATER WAY: (3rd Street) at 6 p.m.

ORLANDO, FLORIDA –  Richard K. Salick, 62, passed away after emergency surgery at Orlando Regional Medical Center on July 2.

Rich Salick

“Earlier this morning, July 2, we all lost a dear friend,” a National Kidney Foundation statement said.

“Devoted father and friend to all who knew him – he will be missed by everyone. Rich’s life work with the National Kidney Foundation will never be forgotten and in keeping with what Rich would want, we will continue all the programs that he poured his heart into, especially the NKF Pro/Am Surf Festival. Our most sincere condolences go out to his family during this terrible time of loss. As soon as there is information on services to celebrate Rich’s life we will pass it on to all.”

Salick was the Director of Community Relations at National Kidney Foundation at the time of his death.

Diagnosed With IGA Nephropathy In 1973

In 1973, Salick was a professional on the United States and World Surfing Teams when his kidneys failed. After surfing all over the world, he was diagnosed with IGA Nephropathy, a disease that breaks down the filtering units in the kidneys.

RICH SALICK, right, and fellow transplant recipient Bill Hahn at the Cocoa Beach Pier in 2009. (Image for

Salick was newly married and in his last year of college, his future looked bright. He lost 35 pounds in two weeks, underwent 8 ½ hours of dialysis daily for a little less than a year and was told that he would never surf again. Salick knew from the beginning that he wanted to have a transplant, and fortunately he had a very willing donor —his identical twin, Phil.

Salick was successfully transplanted in 1974. However he was told that his surfing days were over, but his love for the sport made him yearn for a comeback. Since the transplanted kidney lays just a half an inch beneath the skin in the abdomen, some type of protective gear was necessary.

First Pro Athlete To Return Following A Transplant

With assistance from Cypress Gardens, Salick designed a protective pad that fit into his swim trunks. Less than one year following the surgery, he began hitting the waves again and competing.

He placed second in his first post-operative competition. A month later he entered his second contest and “waxed” the competition.

Salick became the first professional athlete to return to his sport following a transplant. That trophy is still in the dialysis unit at the University of Florida’s Shands Teaching Hospital.

RICH SALICK, left, and University of Florida Dean of Medicine, Dr. Craig Tischer. (Imagee for

In 1977, Salick was honored with the Nancy Katin Award. This prestigious award is given to only one surfer in the world annually at the United States Surfing Championships at Huntington Beach, California.

Salick retired from professional surfing after four years, but was the Number 1 rated surfer on the East Coast in the 24-35 age group in 1980.

Salick, and twin brother Phil, began small surfing events to benefit those on dialysis. This progressed into a major festival in 1986 with the encouragement of Dr. Craig Tisher, who was an officer in the National Kidney Foundation. It was his influence that pushed the NKF Surf Festival into national prominence.

Family Members Donate Kidneys

Salick’s health has experienced ups and downs since that first transplant. Though he had no rejection, he experienced reoccurrences of IGA Nephropathy in 1986 and again in 1999. Both times, family members donated kidneys, keeping Salick dialysis free.

First, his older brother, Channing, donated in 1986, and, most recently in 1999, it was his younger brother and great surfer, Wilson. Three brothers and heroes had kept him alive for many years.

First, his older brother, Channing, donated in 1986, and, most recently in 1999, it was his younger brother and great surfer, Wilson. Three brothers and heroes had kept him alive for many years.

To make matters more difficult, Salick was diagnosed with a Leiomyosarcoma, a very deadly cancer in 2003 and he underwent many more surgeries, a year of radiation and 15 months of chemotherapy.

In January 2000, Salick was honored for his surfing career and contributions to the sport, with induction into the Surfing Hall of Fame as an East Coast Legend. Twin brother Phil followed him in to the Surfing Hall of Fame in January of 2004.

“The entire surfing world community lost one its greatest sons today,” said Dr. Lance Maki, Committee Member of the NKF Surf Fest.

“In honor of Rich and the incredible influence he has had on surfing, the tandem contest will be named  ‘The Rich Salick Memorial Tandem Surf Contest’,” said Maki.

Also, after many years in Martial Arts, Salick was inducted into the USA Martial Arts Black Belt Hall of Fame in April 2008, following his son, David, a 9-time grand national karate champion.


Rich Salick (second from left), who received a donated kidney from his twin brother Phil (far right), wanted to raise money and awareness for kidney disease. (Image for


  1. I am of course saddened to hear of Rich’s passing and I offer my most sincere condolences to his loved ones today, but what a true life he led. Rich brightened any day I ran across his path and I always looked up to him as he evoked kindness, happiness and spirituality! I am happy to have known him. He is one of those people that will always stand out in my mind. May God Bless us and our loss.

  2. Rich was a great, great man and will be missed greatly.

    I have so many fond memories of him that I will always cherish.

    He was a man who made an indelible positive mark on his community and he was a one of a kind.

    Our most sincere condolences to Rich’s family and we hold you closely in our thoughts.

  3. This is a tremendous loss for all of Brevard County and beyond.

    I had the great pleasure of working with Rich on numerous occasions over the years and his devotion to raising money for the NKF and staging surfing events in Cocoa Beach will not be equaled.

    My first impression of him never changed in all the time I knew him — Rich was a classy guy who put the needs of others above himself.

    My heart goes out to his family.

  4. Richard and Phil Salick pulled up to Canaveral Pier one day in the late 1960’s they came over from the West Coast of Florida. I was there that day they pulled up and remember it as if it was yesterday. The pier locals were a pretty tough crowd back in those days, we were very protective of our surfing spot and we just did not let anyone into our click.

    Both Richard and Phil I remember were liked by everyone from the start and they fit right in and became a great part of what the pier is today. They always spoke from the heart and had a great sense of humor not to mention they were both excellent surfers.

    As time went on meaning decades those two guys had a passion to help people and raise money for the cause of both surfing and the Kidney Foundation. I’ve run into them over the years a few times and still love them both like a brother. You could not have two better
    guys representing the surfing world then Phil and Richard Salick. You will be missed my brother and God Bless you and may you find a perfect right point break in heaven.

    I can honestly say it was my pleasure knowing a guy like Richard Salick the pleasure was all mine. You will be missed by many my old friend as your passing will go in honor and you will never be forgotten. And may your wonderful spirit live with us all forever in hope that we learned some valuable lessons in life from you on how to give back to others. Thank You Richard for all you did for others I’m sure God has a very special place for you.


    The Beak

  5. Greg Taylor & I surfed for Rich on the Catri Surf Team when we were 12 then on his brand, Carson Salick. This was 1973& since then he was a mentor & father figure to many of the areas young kids like us, Matt Kechele, Tom Sharpe, the Slaters, the Hobgood & Lopez brothers as well as a highly respected surfer, shop owner & human being. His dedication for & to the Kidney Foundation has been recognized for 1/4 century. Bill Hahn’scomments said it all. He will always hold a special place in our hearts & souls forever. Our prayers are with his family. The people Rich touched, too many to name, lost a hero & person of honor & dignety today. We love you Rich , your family& the wonderful legacy you left. May you RIP for eternity now.

  6. Here Rich lived life to the fullest, in such a way that his love & zest for life outshined the many challenges he faced head on. When God added strength, will & determination to us, He added a little extra to Rich. Sharing everything he had with everyone, even if it was just a friendly smile, he was a man who touched many hearts & will be greatly missed. I’ll miss his warm, loving hugs & sweet kisses, as those were what I looked forward to the most at every Surf Expo I’ve attended for the last 20+ yrs…& hearing him reminiscence about me being in the NKF’s bikini contest & how great I still look – even if I was having a bad hair day! Many hearts are heavy on this day of such a great loss, but let us also celebrate the 62 years of Rich’s life that we were blessed to have, along with his love for family, friends & all that he stood for, believed in & the legacy he’s left behind to be carried on. They’re rejoicing his arrival in Heaven as we mourn his leaving us behind, but let’s not forget how many loved ones were waiting there to greet him, & I can only imagine the party they’re having in Rich’s honor.

    Until we meet again,

  7. In the years I have known Rich, I never heard him complain or say anything but great things about everyone. He was and is my hero, a person that was loved by all he touched.
    The upcoming world tandem championship in Cocoa Beach will be named the Rich Salick Memorial Tandem Surf Contest in his honor.

  8. Salick Family and Friends best of the best, We will miss the Best of the Best, Rich was our leader friend and example how to take the love of the ocean to the people, Apollo Building memories to the Salick Surfshop “kids”

  9. I have known Rich (and Phil) for over forty years and, although I haven’t seen him in quite awhile, this news is heartbreaking to me. I could regale you with my stories about this unique man but, suffice it to say, Rich’s death is a huge loss for the human race. RIP, old friend (and my deepest sympathy to Phil (his brother) and Philip (his son).

  10. Dear Rich,
    I ditto what Tony Graham said…I was there, on your surf team in the 70’s and you got me the job working with you at Catri’s surf shop. Tony & Greg and all those kids mentioned were our “grommets” and we all did indeed love you like a father, brother, teacher, mentor, friend.
    You lived an amazing life and gave all of yourself to so many.
    You fought a fight that was so valiant that in Medieval times you would’ve been Knighted
    and your refusal to give up was the greatest gift you gave to yourself.
    Your pain and suffering is over now, but you can still watch over us….just from a bigger platform.
    God bless you Rich and your family that is left behind to carry on the stories and spin the yarns of a true legend.
    I love you my friend and your memory will live ever on.

  11. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Salick family and friends. He was always an inspiration to us as life moved forward. We will always have his battle and courage in our hearts.
    Now he can surf perfect waves every day.
    Peace and love
    Buzzy and Sharon Foye’

  12. We have lost a great friend and a wonderful giving person. We have know Rich and Phil since the 70’s, our children share birthdays, and most of all we share so many memories. We have played together, surfed together, worked together, and laughed together. Rich, you will be so missed, and Surf Expo will never be the same without you. God Bless the family left behind and one day we will be on the same wave once again. Love you brother!

  13. I have known Rich about 15 years. No time at all compared to some, and in my mind, no time at all to be fortunate enough to have been friends with such an extraordinary person. I could write volumes about Richard’s commitments and devotion to the N.K.F., and his resolve to raise funds to help others with Kidney disease. All that would be included with the fact he lived live to the fullest in spite of his own problems, and always had time for his friends. Suffice to say, Richard Salick was one of those unique people the world really could not afford to lose.

  14. Very sad. Rich will be missed by many. I saw Rich a few months ago at a Kidney Foundation charity walk at the University of Central Florida. I was looking forward to seeing him at the event again next year. check the website to see when it is going to happen in 2013. Sometime in March. Come out and support the event by participating or volunteering at the event. I’m sure Rich would love it.

  15. I have known Rich since 2003. He was a patient at the medical practice where I am employed. He was loved and admired by our Physician and staff and we were devastated to hear of his passing. As the daughter of another wonderful man who died of kidney disease, Rich was an inspiration to me for his passionate and tireless work for the NKF and his nobility and grace with regard to his own enormous medical challenges. He was an extraordinary man and I feel privileged & blessed to have known him. My thoughts and prayers are with the Salick family. May you find comfort in knowing how many people cared about Rich.

  16. Very sad to hear of Richard’s passing. The thing that stands out most in my memories of Rich is how much he enjoyed his life. When I first met him 40+ years ago, he had a big smile on his face. When I last saw him 4 years ago, after a 30 year gap, same huge smile. Health problems did not seem to dampen his enthusiasm for living and enjoyment of time spent with others. Miss ya Rich.

  17. Richard K Salick Memorial Service:

    July 7th, 2012 (Sat) at 1:00pm
    Club Zion Community Church
    830 S. Atlantic Ave Cocoa Beach, Fl 32931
    Beach Casual Attire Celebration of Rich’s Life Party immediately following the service at Cocoa Beach Pier – Oh Shucks

    In lieu of flowers donations can be made to:
    National Kidney Foundation of Florida for the Patient Services Program.
    1040 Woodcock Road Suite 119 Orlando, Fl 32803 or by calling (FL only) 800-927-9659

  18. You are an amazing human being, Richard! So is your brother Phil! Thanks for giving so much to so many people who needed your inspiration, your experience and your love! We will miss you in the transplant community and the surfing community!

  19. I was really sorry to hear of the loss of Rich. He lived his life to help others and anyone that got to know him loved him. We had so many conversations in regards to our “kidney”. I will miss you my dear friend. Our Lakeland Kidney walk will never be the same without your presence. My prayers go out to all his family during this time. RIP RICH!

  20. Richard, You will always be held in my heart closely!Father,Coach,Friend and Spiritual Advisor ! WE WILL BE SPLASHING WATER AT YOU ON SUNDAY ! Peace -WaterBrother ! LOVE YOU !

  21. RIP my transplant brother and teammate. You have touched my life and heart. I will miss your smile, your laughter and the very esseance of your good natured soul. You always thought of ways to help others Heaven must of really needed you more. You showed me how to live with kidney disease…Thank you, you will be missed and loved by all.

  22. I am so saddened to have heard that Rich has passed. Having bumped into Rich most of my surfing life I never saw Rich without a smiling handshake and positive outlook. He and Phil’s’ teamwork in all that they have done will not be forgotten. Rich was truly an ambassador for the entire surfing community. My most sincere regrets go out to all the family.

  23. I have known Richard since age 13 as we all hung out on pier together with Beak Benner, Brillo , David Boyd and the rest of the gang including Buzzy Foye. We both attended bible studies at His Pavillion in Cape Canaveral and Claude Sunshine House in the early 1970’s. I am glad he lived a happy & rewarding life and helped many….Sorry I could not attend the funeral or be there . I am sure Phil his twin will really miss him. They were inseparable.

    Denise/ from the Canaveral Pier surf gang from 1965-1971

  24. When I first came to Cocoa Beach in the late 70’s, I worked with several young people who were surfers, They sure seemed to love the Salick brothers, they looked up to them like big brothers and mentors in their lives……then I met them, and I realized that they were special, and that our community was blessed to have them. Kind, Smart, Caring, etc….etc…
    Rich will be missed. My prayers go to the family. I especially will be thinking of Phil, the loss must be great….

  25. The surf community is small. I never met Rich or Phil Salick but I felt I knew them. As an East Coast Surfer of 40 years I read about the Salick Brothers many times and owned a 6’9″ Salick single fin back in 1976 that I considered a great surfboard. Life is short. Get it while you can. It seems like Rich did just that!

  26. So sorry to hear about Rick, I am now living in Hawaii and had not heard the news. Rick was a long time friend. It was great being inducted in Surfing Hall of Fame in 2000 along with Rick. He was a good friend and nice to have known him as long as I did, he was a great surfer but will always be remembered for the Kidney Foundation and his great work. He will be deeply missed, RIP Rick. We send our Aloha from Hawaii to Phil and the rest of his family. Bruce, Sherry & Scott Clelland 1/11/13

  27. It’s nice that our country could do something to remember a great person: H.R.451
    To designate the facility of the United States Postal Service located at 500 North Brevard Avenue in Cocoa Beach, Florida, as the “Richard K. Salick Post Office”.

    Pa’u hana, brother.

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