- Diploma In Creative Arts
Submitted by: SD Surfboards
Monday, July 14, 2014, the U.S. Post Office on N. Brevard Avenue in Cocoa Beach was designated as the Richard K. Salick Post Office, named after surfer Richard Salick who passed away due to kidney failure.
Congressman Bill Posey introduced the bill to Congress to show gratitude to Richard who had been a devoted advocate for those who had also suffered the same disease. It was deemed fit that this bill was passed to honor and acknowledge Richard s impact to the society.
Richard Salick was a professional surfer who competed on the U.S. and World Surfing teams in the 60s and 70s. In 1973, he was then diagnosed with kidney disease. He received three kidney transplants from his brothers: from his twin brother, Phil in 1974; his older brother, Channing, in 1986; and his younger brother, Wilson Shymanski, in 1999.
He was told that he would not be able to surf anymore. Nevertheless, after his transplant, he was up and ready for a comeback. He found ways to get back to the passion and lifestyle he had since young. Because of his sensitive body, he designed a protective pad that fits into his swim trunks. With that, he began competing again. He, at that point, became the first professional athlete to make a competitive comeback after a transplant.
After four years, he retired from surfing but in 1980, he was the Number 1 surfer in the 24-35 age group on the East Coast.
Subsequently, Richard and twin, Phil, began to organize surfing events to the benefit of those in dialysis. And this led to the founding of the National Kidney Foundation Surf Festival. It is a four days long event during Labor Day weekend. It was later renamed to Annual Rich Salick Pro-Am Surf Festival, in honor of Richard. It has become the largest charitable surfing event in the world, and even one of the longest-running pro events on the East Coast. 28 years and running, the festival has raised millions of funds to help those with kidney disease.
In January 2000, Richard became a Surfing Hall of Famer because of his surfing prowess and contributions. Unfortunately, in 2003, Richard was also diagnosed with cancer. He underwent more surgeries, a year of radiation and months of chemotherapy.
In 2008, he was also inducted into the USA Martial Arts Black Belt Hall of Fame, with his son, 9-time grand national karate champion, David.
Professional surfer, Kelly Slater s first surfboard was even made by Richard. His first surf contest was the 1980 Salick Brothers Surf Contest, ran evidently by the Salick Brothers.
Richard was 62 years old when he died after an emergency surgery at Orlando Regional Medical Center. It was morning of July 2, 2012.
Family, friends, fellow kidney disease patients and the surfing community have deeply grieved for the loss. Aside from his achievements in surfing, Richard is praised and remembered as a man with so much love and care for others. He had a big heart and a big smile for everyone.
The Richard K. Salick Post Office is definitely a great and memorable way to keep Richard s legacy alive.
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