COCOA BEACH, Fla. – What’s red and white and soaked all over? Surfing Santas, of course.
Crowds of people gathered at Cocoa Beach on Christmas Eve to watch as surfers donning their best Santa attire made waves on the Space Coast.
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And nothing says Christmas like former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie jumping out of a helicopter and into the ocean to kick off the event, sending the men and women with the boards swimming.
“That was a rush. It really was. That was a lot of fun. The moment, the stepping off, a little bit of nerves, but then once you’re off you’re in the air, you’re flying down and you hit the water,” Flutie said. “It’s a blast.”
Flutie, along with Surfing Santas Founder George Trosset, marveled at the record turnout and the community that’s been built since the group started 12 years ago.
“This is unbelievable! We’re goofing around at the beach and now we got thousands of people coming out and having fun,” Trosset said. “Going from a goofy day on the beach to this, it’s beyond my wildest dreams.”
During the event, which had to go virtual last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, surfers do more than dress like Santa. They capture the spirit of Santa, too, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for local charities.
“Everybody coming together, having a blast and for a good cause, so it’s a win-win,” Flutie said.
Trosset and his team collect funds from Surfing Santas “swag” to donate to organizations like the Florida Surf Museum and Grind for Life, according to the group’s website.
“It’s just a fun thing to do Christmas Eve morning,” Flutie added. “It’s proving we are in Florida. We’re not in the Great White North or Northeast and we’re all-out having fun in the ocean.”
Trosset, the original man with the board, agreed there is nowhere else he’d rather be come Christmas Eve.
“It’s the happiest day on earth. Surfing Santa day is happy, happy day,” Trosset said. “It’s sunny. It’s warming up. People are surfing. What else is there? What else can you do on Christmas Eve and have this much fun?”