“we aren’t going to let the pandemic steal our Christmas spirit!”
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: George Trosset, founder of the now world-renowned “Surfing Santas,” was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2018 in the Sports Development category.
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA BEACH, FLORIDA – George Trosset, founder of the now world-renowned “Surfing Santas,” announced the event will go virtual for Christmas 2020.
Trosset was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame in 2018 in the Sports Development category and isn’t going to let COVID slow him down.
“Ho-Ho-Whoa! We never like to say canceled,” said Trosset on the Surfing Santas Facebook page
“In previous years, all the tribes gathered in Cocoa Beach on Surfing Santa Day to surf together. Hundreds of Surfing Santas showed up to surf and thousands of spectators came to watch.
“We all shared the love, joy and hope on the beach together and we aren’t going to let the pandemic steal our Christmas spirit. We have three great virtual events that you can participate in and enter to win great prizes – like cash, future hotel stays in Cocoa Beach and other great prizes,” said Trosset.
CLICK HERE for all the details.
Trosset went on to say, “Although we won’t be gathering together on the beach this year, we encourage you to gather your tribe at your home break and join in a global paddle out!
“Put on a Santa outfit and go surf, wakeboard behind your boat or SUP in your favorite lake. However you want to keep the #SurfingSantas spirit alive for 2020, we would love to see it – so please upload photos and videos to social media and use our hashtag #SurfingSantas.
“Also, this year’s virtual costume contest begins on Dec. 5th and we also are holding a Best Air Contest for all of you aerial surfers out there.”
Go to SurfingSantas.org for all the details.
SURFING SANTAS: Humble Beginnings to 10,000 Spectators
In November of 2009, Trosset happened upon a Honda car ad depicting surfers wearing Santa Claus suits. Trosset loved the idea and enlisted the help of his wife, Nihla, to help him fashion a suit from 20 feet or so would look like a Santa outfit.
To Nihla’s thrift shop red jacket find, George added a Santa hat and beard made from an old white fleece blanket.
He called his son and his wife and asked them to dress up as elves and meet him on the beach at Cocoa Beach early Dec. 24.
“My son later told me he thought I had been drinking,” said Trosset.
As the morning light bathed the beach, Trosset and his “elves” took to the waves. Watching them were Nihla and their grandson, then three-year-old Anderson.
Those were the humble beginnings of the phenomenon known as Surfing Santas, which last Christmas Eve morning drew more than 800 surfers and 10,000 spectators to Cocoa Beach – and the attention of millions worldwide.
Trosset almost didn’t survive being the first Surfing Santa.
“The beard nearly killed me,” explained Trosset, who said he had trouble breathing under the weight of the beard, sopping wet from the white water of the waves.
In 2010, 18 of Trosset’s friends joined him for the Second Surfing Santas.
“Some of them were dressed in genuine velour Santa costumes, and it was downright dangerous,” said Trosset.
Fortunately, nobody drowned and the quirky event continued to grow, nurtured by the media, which took notice in a big way.
“It just snowballed with national media coverage,” said Trosset. “People now tell me that is has become a family tradition.”
If you had witnessed the 2017 Surfing Santas, you could have spotted Sexy Santas, Santa sharks, Batman Santas, Hawaiian Santas and even a Rasta Santa with a wild floor mop for hair.
For Trosset, what was once a spur-of-the-moment lark has become part of his life.
“It’s now more like a full-time job,” said Trosset, who is thankfully retired from his job as owner of Brevard Boat Sales and can devote his time to the St. Nick by the sea shenanigans.
Because of media the likes of CNN, AP, Reuters and Fox News, 70 million people have seen Surfing Santa in the news across America. Even Russian television got in on the Surfing Santas craze with a YouTube video.
As it mushroomed, Surfing Santas has evolved into a charitable event that benefits the nonprofit Florida Surf Museum, as well as Grind for Life, which provides financial assistance to cancer patients and their families.
While there is no cost to participate or watch Surfing Santas, the sale of 3,000 t-shirts last year helped fund these organizations.
Among Trosset’s bucket list items is to encourage Jimmy Buffet to write a song about Surfing Santas and perform at the event.
Bringing an A-lister such as Dwayne Johnson would also be extremely nice, as would be connecting with a major sponsor that would like to tap into the one billion media impressions Surfing Santas has garnered in the last two years.
For Trosset, ultimately the best part of Surfing Santa is seeing the happiness the event brings.
“I keep seeing faces of total joy,” he said. “Just talking about Surfing Santas makes people smile and I couldn’t be happier.”
Bringing annual joy to participants and fans is what earned George and his surfing Santas a spot in the 2018 Class of the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame.
THE 2021 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME Banquet and Induction Ceremony will take place at the Cocoa Beach Country Club on Friday, May 7.
FOR INFORMATION ABOUT the 2021 SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME, call 321-615-8111 or e-mail Contact@SpaceCoastDaily.com
CLICK HERE TO SEE MEMBERS OF THE SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME