Where can you find Kris Kringle Christmas Eve morning? Instead of hanging ornaments at the North Pole, he's hanging ten in the Cocoa Beach, Florida, surf.
Nearly every day of the year, suiting up for a surfer means squeezing into black neoprene. But on Christmas Eve day in Cocoa Beach, Florida, the suits are a little more spirited.
That’s because for the past eight years, Florida resident Goerge Trosset has convinced hundreds of friends and strangers to hit the waves donning white beards and red velour as part of his annual Surfing Santas celebration.
“Since Santa has a busy night ahead of him on Christmas Eve, he likes to spend the morning enjoying his favorite pastime, which is surfing,” says Trosset.
What started as family fun for Trosset – Surfing Santas’ ‘Chief Fun Officer’ – has turned into a citywide extravaganza. "The first year we did it in 2009, I called my son the day before and asked him to dress up as an elf and come out and surf with me on Christmas Eve," recalls Trosset. "To my surprise, he actually did."
A photo of Trosset hanging ten in holiday garb graced the front page of the local paper the following day, inspiring even more Santas to hit the waves the following year.
Eight years later, the free event draws hundreds of costumed surfers and more than 8,000 spectators (as well as dozens of skydiving Santas who parachute onto the Cocoa Beach surf). Sponsored by the city of Cocoa Beach, Space Coast Tourism, and Ron Jon’s Surf Shop, it’s evolved from a surf party to a family-friendly event for all, with live music, dance performances, and costume contests.
Perhaps the best part? This jolly holiday event isn’t just for laughs; it also raises money for two charities – the Florida Surf Museum and Grind for Life, which provides financial assistance to families struggling with cancer, through donations and merchandise sales.
“Surfing Santas has evolved into this fantastic community gathering of surfing enthusiasts coming from near and far to this very popular surf spot, in celebration of Christmas,” says Trosset, who expects about 1,000 surfers to take part in the event this year. “It's the one day a year that all surfers share all the waves and enjoy some fun in the sun on Cocoa Beach, in the spirit of the holidays.”
For more information on Surfing Santas, visit surfingsantas.org.