How do you measure the worth of a man?
Some of you may scoff, but the best answer I’ve ever heard to that question comes from a bittersweet country song called “Three Wooden Crosses” by Randy Travis. In it, he meditatively sings: “I guess it’s not what you take when you leave this world behind you, it’s what you leave behind you when you go.”
If those words ring true, then Cocoa Beach, FL, surf legend Rich Salick was one of the best men our surf community has ever seen. As a founder of the National Kidney Foundation Pro-Am Surf Festival, his dedication to helping those around him touched countless individuals, and his friendly, perpetually up-beat attitude inspired many more. He left behind a legacy that is truly larger than life. And in the days that followed his passing, the evidence was everywhere you looked.
Local businesses posted sincere condolences on their signs, online surf forums blew up with fond memories of Rich, and on the evening of July 8th, a paddle-out held in his honor drew thousands to Slater Way (3rd Street North). Old friends and fellow legends like Sean Slater, Matt Kechele, and David Speir all came out to show their support, and even people who had never met Rich felt compelled to pay their respects. After all, Rich Salick was a truly great man — by any measure.