Hundreds of surfing Santas took to the Florida waves in a Christmas Eve event for the 12th time this past week.
Cocoa Beach hosted more than 10,000 spectators for the four-hour event that helped celebrate the holiday while bringing needed funds to local charities. Fox News reported on the event.
Former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, who donned a Santa costume without the beard, kicked off the event by jumping out of a helicopter Friday morning, and 400-plus surfers later took to the waves.
Last Year’s Event Canceled
After last year’s event fell victim to the pandemic, this one was so large that the Surfing Santas went six city blocks at the 3 Minutemen Causeway Beach.
Participants and spectators got to participate in costume contests while seeing Hawaiian dancers. Some sampled space-themed merchandise while St. Nick himself visited before making his worldwide present-delivering trip.
While the Surfing Santas group still needed more time to count this year’s donations, past events have raised more than $200,000 for two local nonprofits. Early estimates, however, say that the event raised tens of thousands of dollars.
Those two charities, cancer financial assistance program Grind For Life and surfing preservation society Florida Surf Museum, are based in Cocoa Beach.
Surfing Santas Founder George Trosset loved the record turnout. In 2009, he started the event by dressing as Santa. His children dressed as elves that day.
He told Click Orlando that the Santa Surfing event is usually “the happiest day on earth” for him each year.
Flutie Had Fun With Santa Event
NFL great Doug Flutie, a Heisman Trophy winner, and Brevard County resident, told Fox Orlando that he had an “adrenaline rush” jumping out of the copter.
But the former quarterback dressed as Santa said he had “a blast” making the free fall.
“Everybody out here having a blast for a good cause, and it’s gotten bigger and bigger every year, and this is phenomenal turnout,” Flutie told Fox Orlando.
Flutie loved participating in the event, saying it was his first helicopter jump. He jumped with another Surfing Santa production member who jumped in with his selfie stick to record the wild jump. In the video, the former quarterback said he “didn’t know if he’d clear the helicopter.”
Afterward, Flutie said he’d do it again.
When Bishop Desmond Tutu died on Sunday, the former quarterback was in the news again. Actor Eddie Murphy accidentally broke Flutie’s Heisman Trophy during a “Saturday Night Live” skit on Dec. 15, 1984.
In 2017, the event worked to get its name in the Guinness Book of World Records. That year, a documented 837 Santa costumed wave-riders descended on the beach. It seems like the Cocoa Beach event competes with Australia’s Bondi Beach, a Sydney suburb, for the record books occasionally. However, no one went for any record this year.