Florida Santas Win “Surfing Santas” Challenge

Florida Santas Beat Australian Santas In “Surfing Santa” Challenge

On Christmas Eve about 1,200 costumed Santas came out to Cocoa Beach to participate in the inaugural Run Run Santa 1-mile sprint race.

The challenge had a sellout field of 500 runners that sprinted across Viera and surfed clean, chest-to shoulder-high waves. Marked as “Viera’s first and only all-Santa race,” each participant received a white beard, red hat, red jackets, red shorts and a black belt.

During race registration runners were warned,” Any runner or walker not wearing the Santa suit will be asked to leave the course with no refund.”

About 772 St. Nick-costumed surfers and thousands of spectators poured onto the beach off of Minutemen Causeway, near Coconuts by the Beach and Beach Shack.

Some participants even added Christmastime fashion accessories like bells, tinsel garland and holiday-themed socks. Dogs and baby strollers were also decorated in Christmas attire.

“The race sold out much quicker than we had ever expected, which means that we’re going to have to go bigger for next year,” Brittany Streufert, race director, announced at the starting line, per USA Today.

Some runners crossed the finish line with white beards flapping.

“I left the beard on, and I got fur in my mouth. That’s why I was a little distracted,” Melbourne runner Lisa Petrillo said afterward to USA Today. Finishing 19th overall, she was the fastest female to finish in the non-elite division.

George Trosset, founder of Surfing Santas, said he wants Cocoa Beach to continue competing with Australia. He told USA Today he received an email from a man in Crescent Head, an Australia coastal village, that a Christmas Eve event was expecting to feature more than 500 surfers and 1,000 spectators.

“They sent an email challenging us. They said, ‘They’re coming at us’ in the email. ‘Watch this space: We’re coming at you,’ ” Trosset said to USA Today.