What do Christmas and surfing have in common? Apparently, not that much. But there’s more to it than meets the eye! Did you know that Santa Claus is a big fan of surfing? Every year, on December 24, Santas of all shapes and sizes hit Cocoa Beach in Florida to have fun and raise money for charity. They are known as the Surfing Santas and they are already world-famous!
Winter holidays don’t have to be all about staying cozy near the fireplace sipping mulled wine. They are a great opportunity to hit the beach and surf some of the best waves on the planet. After all, winter surfing is the holy grail of wave chasers, the time of year when the swell is pumping and oceans send set after set of awesome waves. In that spirit, the world’s most renowned Christmas surfing event is held each year in Florida, USA. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a beginner surfer or a pro, young or old; everyone’s invited to catch some waves on Christmas Eve or, at the very least, be a spectator.
Curious to learn more about the Surfing Santas? We are here to give you the lowdown on the Surfing Santas from Cocoa Beach. Who knows? Maybe this year, you can join them and hit the waves!
It all started with George Trosset on Christmas Eve, 2009, when he dressed up as Santa Claus and went surfing on Cocoa Beach with his son and daughter-in-law dressed as Santa Elves. A photo of them showed up on the front page of the newspaper the next day and so the word got out like wildfire.
By the next year, there were 19 Surfing Santas and, in 2011, the number grew to 84! Over the years, it continued to increase as more and more people joined in on the fun! In fact, in 2016, there were over 600 Surfing Santas surfing on Christmas Eve and 8,000+ spectators.
Photo credit: surfingsantas.org
So why do the Surfing Santas surf? Aside from the sheer joy one gets from surfing, the Surfing Santas event has been supporting a local charity, Grind for Life, for the past four years. Surfing Santas sell T-shirts and, in 2015, they’ve sold over 2,000. All the money goes to Grind for Life, which helps people who have been diagnosed with cancer and also the Florida Surf Museum. Across the years, the Surfing Santas has raised over $30,000 for charity and you can help out too! Buy T-shirts, caps and shorts here and support Grind for Life and the Florida Surf Museum, one of the few surf museums in the world.
Photo credit: surfingsantas.org/Amanda Stratford
Anyone can be a Surfing Santa, according to their website:
“People from all walks of life and professions join in the holiday spirit to celebrate with Santa, their friends and family and everyone else who comes, to surf the waves and have fun in the sun, on Cocoa Beach!We have Doctors, Lawyers and many other professional people participate. We have men, women boys and girls of all ages. Our oldest Surfing Santas are well into their 60’s. Our youngest Surfing Santas are in Elementary School. We have teenage Surfing Santas and pre-teen Surfing Santas. Surfing Santas are not just dressed in Santa Suits. There are Frosty the Snowman Surfing Santas. There are “Rasta” (Jamaican) Surfing Santas. We have Elves, Christmas Trees and Reindeer Surfing Santas. This year I even saw a Batman Surfing Santa! The costumes are as diverse as the people that wear them.”
If you want to join the Surfing Santas this year, the event will take place on December 24, at 8 am EST, at 2 Minutemen Causeway on Cocoa Beach, Florida. Registration is FREE! Whatever you do, don’t arrive later than 9 am, because that’s when the photo session takes place and I’m sure you’ll want to be in the picture!
Starting with 2016, a new event has been added – the Surfing Santas Costume contest. So, if you want to make a splash, be sure to put on your best Santa outfit or winter-inspired costume to win some awesome prizes! Anna Lusk will perform the new Surfing Santas anthem and Pastor Fox will make an invocation for the event. The entire event is scheduled to end at around noon or 1 pm, as everybody needs to head home and start prepping for Christmas day.
*Cover image credit: surfingsantas.org
Inspired to join the Surfing Santas? Or maybe you just want to try out some surf camps in the US? Head over to our website and pick the best surf camp for you!