by Aimee Vitek
Thursday-Monday, Aug. 30-Sept. 3 – NKF Rich Salick Pro-Am Surf Festival
various times through Monday, Sept. 3
Cocoa Beach Pier
401 Meade Ave.
It’s not as if this annual Labor Day water fest lacks any widespread participation: For 27 years now, hundreds of surfers – ranging from kids (some younger than nine) to seasoned riders over the age of 55 – plunge into the waters off Cocoa Beach to contend in surfing and stand up paddleboard (SUP) heats. But with last month’s loss of festival founder and surfing legend Rich Salick, we have a feeling this year’s event will outshine the rest. After all, Salick was a devoted advocate of the fest’s namesake beneficiary, the National Kidney Foundation: He underwent multiple transplants while living with kidney disease and designed the event to spread awareness and support of the disease. This year, the weeklong beach bash will also include Tiki Bar shindigs, merch vendors along the Cocoa Beach Pier and Sunday’s Taste of Brevard foodie affair ($20). No doubt, a swell of Salick-drenched reflections will wash ashore to motivate both boarders and beachcombers alike. – Aimee Vitek