Thousands gather for Surfing Santas in Brevard

Participants dress as Santa

COCOA BEACH, Fla. – Thousands of people descended on Cocoa Beach to take part in the seventh annual Surfing Santas event.

Surfers of all shapes and sizes, many of them sweating in the balmy 80-degree weather, gathered Thursday morning dressed as Santa Claus and hit the waves.

"I feel like we're extras in a movie," said Todd McGill, who along with his wife, Belinda, showed up from Ithaca, New York, to see what a Cocoa Beach Christmas looks like.

In addition, 43 skydiving "Santas" landed on the beach during the event.

"There's a sea of red and green," said George Trosset, organizer of the annual event.  "Holy mackerel, it's just crazy!"

Trosset began the annual Christmas Eve surfer gathering with his family in 2009 and he said it's grown every year since.

This year, more than 300 surfers participated with thousands watching from the shore.

"The community has embraced it and everybody wants to be a part of it," said Trosset.

Trosset said the world record set in Australia on Dec. 15 for most Surfing Santas was shattered Christmas Eve in Cocoa Beach.

"We had 648 Surfing Santas in Cocoa Beach, surpassing the old record of 320 in Bondi Beach, Australia, by a multiple of 2," Trosset said.

The event, which raises money for two local non-profits, bills itself as the world's largest surfing Santa event.