COCOA BEACH, Fla. – The tradition of dressing up like St. Nick and hitting the waves continues in Cocoa Beach for the 11th annual Surfing Santa event in Cocoa Beach.
“I saw them surfing... Santa Clause,” said Mason, a child watching from the shoreline Thursday morning.
The event usually draws tens of thousands of people to the Space Coast and hundreds of surfers from across the globe. Due to the pandemic, the event was held virtually and surfers were encouraged to hit the beach on their own, socially distant on a much smaller scale.
“It’s about a tenth of the normal number of surfers... but it’s still fun,” said Gregg Galzerano who dressed up to surf.
“It’s a little chilly... waves better than past years,” said surfer Jay Whelan.
Although the event was held virtually this year, hundreds of families still decided to show up and continue their Christmas Eve tradition. Others, like John Patton, came out to start a new tradition.
“I just learned how to surf last year and decided to come out this year for the event. The waves look great and I’m ready to give it some,” said Patton.
John Patton was in the full get-up with the Santa coat, fluffy red pants and hat. Crowds cheering as he ran out to the ocean.
“I feel honored to be a part of Surfing Santas this year,” said Patton.
He said the suit gets heavy when it’s wet, and you may lose your red hat a few times. But he said the experience is unlike any other with families bringing the Christmas spirit to life.
“it’s all about making memories, getting dressed up and celebrating Christmas in Florida with your family,” said grandparents who brought their grandchildren to watch the Surfing Santas.
Some surfers said it’s something these families needed during this difficult time.
“It gives you hope for the new year,” said surfer Ryan Dadds.