A Cocoa Beach Tradition that Has Grown to Include Thousands

Far from the bitter nip of Jack Frost, here in sunny Florida we have our own traditions during the holidays. And on the morning of Christmas Eve in Cocoa Beach, one of them is surfing with Ol’ St. Nick. That’s right, surfing with Santa—actually, hundreds of them.

If you’re from here, you know you read that correctly. If you’re new to the area or from out of town, you may have just laughed or even rolled your eyes, but it’s a great tradition that has slowly gained traction here in Brevard County, so don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!

What started as a family outing on Christmas Eve back in 2009 when George Trosset went surfing dressed as Santa with his son and daughter-in-law (who dressed as elves) has morphed into a huge event. How? The media, of course.

When a local newspaper published a picture of George decked out in Santa gear hanging 10 on the front page of the Christmas edition, George’s friends saw the image and expressed the desire to accompany him the following year—dressed as Santas themselves, of course.

By 2014, 300 Surfing Santas, 18 Sky Surfing Santas and more than 4,000 spectators participated in the event. Two years later, those numbers doubled to 600 Surfing Santas and 8,000-plus spectators who made their way to Cocoa Beach for some holiday fun in the sun.

While it has grown wildly popular among locals, it is still as chill as it was back in 2010, the year after George made his inaugural run. Everyone is welcome, whether to surf or just to spectate, there is no registration nor fees for surfers or the general public, and all that’s expected of you is to have a good time. Pretty simple.

Not only is it a wonderful way to spend time with friends and family on the beach in a festive atmosphere, but the event also benefits two causes close to the hearts of the Surfing Santas. They are Grind for Life and the Florida Surf Museum, and so far they’ve been able to raise more than $60,000 through the sale of Santa swag.

Grind for Life provides financial aid to families suffering from the devastating effects of cancer. The Florida Surf Museum preserves and documents the unique history and culture of Florida surfing. It’s also a place where you can experience the heritage and traditions of the surfing community through events, exhibits and programs.

Without their efforts, and those of the Trosset family and its legion of volunteers, the Christmas Eve Surfing Santas tradition might not be what it is today. Their help has been invaluable.

In fact, their immense success has seen the event grow so large that four years ago it needed to be relocated to the downtown area, where it was then—and continues to be—received with open arms. And to think it all started with a picture…

If you’d like to go this year and you’re not hip to its time and location, you’ll find a sea of red and white at the end of the Minutemen Causeway in Cocoa Beach at 8 a.m. on Dec. 24. There’s a costume contest that’s in its second year, which starts at 9 a.m., followed by Santa surfing out at 10 a.m. Just bring your Santa suit and board—or your elf ears and green felt booties—and don’t forget the sunblock.