Surfing Santas expect to draw thousands on Christmas Eve


During the 11th annual Surfing Santas event at Cocoa Beach on Christmas Eve, hundreds of Santas will take to the waves, while thousands of spectators cheer from the shore.

courtesy of Surfing Santas

The idea came to George Trosset in 2009, as he watched a car commercial featuring surfers wearing Santa suits.

“I wanted to be a surfing Santa,” the Rockledge native said.

Hearing this, Trosset’s wife, Nihla, purchased a red raincoat from a thrift store and attached white fuzz to it.

Trosset told his son, George Jr., about his plans.

“He said, ‘I thought you’d stopped drinking, dad,’ ” Trosset recalled.

Amused, Trosset’s son and daughter-in-law dressed as elves and joined him on Cocoa Beach that Christmas Eve. The only spectator was Trosset’s 3-year-old grandson.

However, a Florida Today photographer happened to snap a picture. It was included in the paper’s Christmas edition and an 11-year-old phenomenon was created.

The next year, 19 Santas took to the surf. Then, the year after 84, then 156.

The numbers continued to escalate. Last year, 600 Santas, elves, Batman Santas, shark Santas and someone wearing a Nutcracker costume, rode the waves.

More than 10,000 people came to watch.

“Our 882 million media impressions, means we created that many smiles,” Trosset said.

Each year, Anne Wolfe and her family add their smiles.

“We meet for breakfast, then go to Cocoa Beach for Surfing Santas,” she said. “It’s become a wonderful tradition for our family and for Florida.”

Although the event is free, proceeds from T-shirt sales help support the Florida Surfing Museum and Grind For Life, a nonprofit organization that helps people with cancer.

After making numerous preparations for Surfing Santas, Trosset and his helpers are exhausted when the big day starts. But something magical happens.

“By 7 a.m., hundreds of happy, smiling and excited people have showed up at the beach.

“They create an energy that fires us up,” he said. “Surfing Santas is run by a bunch of seniors. We are surfing into our golden years and having the time of our lives.”

Surfing Santas will take place 8 a.m. to noon along Cocoa Beach at the end of Minutemen Causeway.

Watch the Surfing Santas facebook page for updates and information about the Free Picture With Surfing Santa schedule at