COCOA BEACH, Florida (Florida Today) – More than 4,000 spectators converged on the oceanfront along Minutemen Causeway on Wednesday to witness the sixth annual Surfin' Santas extravaganza, a beachside Christmas Eve tradition.
This year, there were about 300 Santas on the waves — a record turnout. They were joined by 18 skydiving Santas, who landed in the sand.
But beyond the surfing, skydiving and spectating, there was also a public (and accepted) marriage proposal; a musical tribute to popular local surfer Mike Tabeling, who died Saturday; and a performance of the event's theme song, which describes the joy of celebrating Christmas in sunny Florida.
George Trosset, the creator of the Surfin' Santas tradition, said that the event started as a family celebration and exploded in popularity after attracting media attention. From there, surfers from all over the world contacted him, saying they wanted to take part.
He said that the large turnout at the 2014 Surfin' Santas event was both exciting and surprising. "All I can say is it's beyond my wildest dreams," he said. "We started this tradition with just myself, my son, and my daughter-in-law. It was a family party, and it's turned into a community event, and I'm amazed at how big it is."
This year, the event was held adjacent to Minutemen Causeway to accommodate a spike in the number of participants.
Dave Netterstrom, the mayor of Cocoa Beach, said that he was proud to host the Surfin' Santas event in his city.