Will rebel Surfing Santas arise?
It is now the first day of October and the commencement of the holiday season crackles on the ever cooling (or warming for our Australian brothers and sisters) air. The unmistakable scent of Laird Superfoods Pumpkin Spice non-dairy coffee creamer wafting. Peace and goodwill on the House floor of the U.S. Congress. Surfing Santas dusting off those iconic red costumes, getting ready to paddle out on Christmas Day.
Yes, the yearly tradition in Cocoa Beach, Florida brings much joy to all. As many as 800 Santas now surf for a crowd that has swelled to over 10,000 underneath the all-seeing eye of the town’s Kelly Slater statue.
A perfect marriage of whimsy and pride.
Alas, though, heartbreaking news has just rippled through the entire Space Coast as Surfing Santas event is set to move away from the bronze and beautiful Slater, three miles up the beach to some strip of god-forsaken nothing.
In a stunning announcement, organizers attempted to soft-pedal the tragedy, declaring:
We have EXCITING NEWS! Surfing Santas 2023 will be in a NEW LOCATION! We’ll be surfing and celebrating right down the road at Shepard Park, Cocoa Beach… where 520 meets the ocean. This is a really great change for us for so many reasons, but here are just a few:
-More beachfront and nearby parking… goodbye, stressful traffic jams!
-Less overall congestion than downtown as attendees can arrive directly from north, south and west, and guests in the nearby beachside hotels can walk to the venue.
-Easier access set up for staging and closer media and staff parking and access. (Our amazing volunteers will jump for joy at this one.)
-Actual handicap parking and easy access to the beach.
-Opportunity and room for the possibility of coffee/food trucks to participate.
-A brick and mortar bathroom at the park + more room for portalets than downtown Cocoa Beach.
– Onsite power and water.
-Public gazebos where families or friends can hang out or picnic after the event.
-It is one block from the Florida Surf Museum, which actually hosts the event — this will provide the opportunity for more people to actually visit the museum!
-Lots of local restaurants to serve our Surfing Santas family. (Our friends at Long Doggers are close by and open for lunch!)
-It is still Cocoa Beach! Home sweet home.
We are so stoked for Christmas Eve morning at Shepard Park, and we look forward to this year being our best one yet. See you there!
Can it ever really be Christmas without the Kelly Slater statue? No amount to brick and mortar bathrooms can make up for this.
No word, yet, if purists might stage a rebel Surfing Santas event at the site of its original home.
Here’s hoping for a Christmas miracle.