This event is making huge waves in both the surfing and nonprofit communities; it is the largest charitable surfing festival in the world. You’ve heard of fundraising walks. This event moves the action and awareness to the water. Hundreds of surfers and supporters, including some of the world’s most famous surfers, come together for this exciting event to help raise money for the National Kidney Foundation of Florida.
The Rick Salick Pro-Am Surf Festival is the largest charitable surfing festival in the world — Photo courtesy of Public Domain
The highlight of the fest is the surfing competitions, where surfers of all levels take to the waves at the Cocoa Beach Pier. The stakes are big here; the pro men’s award tops at $5,000.
Watch exhibitions, sign up for clinics and check out the family-friendly swimwear competition. Pop by the Cocoa Beach Skate Park to watch the skateboard contest. Later, enjoy live music at the pier, sample food from more than 20 different local restaurants (or sign up for the big island-influenced dinner), check out the large-scale silent auction of hundreds of items north in Cape Canaveral and rub elbows (and boards) with members of the Surfing Hall of Fame.
This large, family-friendly beach festival is a nonstop party. The live music doesn’t stop. Radio stations broadcast live from the sand. The event typically draws other local celebrities, too. It's one of the most exciting events all year on the Space Coast.
The surf festival began in the mid-’80s, after famous surfer Rich Salick was diagnosed with a kidney disease. He went from being an active member of the US and world surfing teams to being on dialysis and then suffering complications related to a kidney transplant. Doctors told him he would never be able to surf again, but he figured out a way to get back on the water.
Salick returned to professional surfing, even earning a first place and later the Nancy Katin Award, one of the most esteemed surfing awards given by the Presidents of the Worldwide Surfing Associations.
His fundraising momentum began small, with competitions that raised just over $100. But over the years, the ripple has spread, and to date the fundraiser has raised more than $4 million for patient support, screenings and other programs for the National Kidney Foundation of Florida.
Learn more about the NKF Rich Salick Pro-Am Surf Festival.