Suzy Fleming Leonard: How do you find the holiday spirit? Sing carols with Surfing Santa

·3 min read

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Ride shotgun with George Trosset as he drives through Cocoa Beach, and watch people smile.

His 1953 Pontiac Tin Woody wagon with surfboards strapped on top is the perfect ride for a beach town. That it's bright red and has Santa strapped in the back makes it perfect for Brevard's original Surfing Santa.

For George, it's Christmas all year. He's been coming up with bigger, better surprises for the 13th annual Cocoa Beach Surfing Santas, which will be Christmas Eve in the waves off Minutemen Causeway.

He'll take Christmas Day off, then he'll start planning for 2022.

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Stay tuned for more on George and Surfing Santas. Right now, let's go back to the car.

George saw it a few years back in a Autotrader magazine. It had 17,000 miles. Everything in it was original.

Surfing Santa was intrigued, even though checking out the car meant a trip to Omaha.

George found one-way tickets to Nebraska for $15.60 and booked a roundtrip for himself and Mrs. Surfing Santa (his wife, Nihla).

George Trosset, founder of the annual Cocoa Beach Surfing Santas event, takes his 1953 Pontiac Tin Woody out for a spin around town.
George Trosset, founder of the annual Cocoa Beach Surfing Santas event, takes his 1953 Pontiac Tin Woody out for a spin around town.

One look, and he had the Woody shipped back to Florida.

It's not the most reliable of cars. It's got three on the tree and tends to stall out on occasion. It came with a 220 air conditioner, George said. "Two windows and 20 miles per hour."

It's a beauty, though, and a ton of fun, especially when George tricks it out with a selfie-cam and a Tesla-inspired dash-mounted iPad.

George wanted to do his own Christmas version of "Carpool Karaoke," a recurring segment on The Late Late Show with James Corden. And let's face it, it's hard to resist George's excitement and enthusiasm when it comes to Christmas.

Which is how Nihla and I ended up parading up South Atlantic and down South Orlando singing "Jingle Bells."

We managed to get through at least a verse or two of "We Wish You a Merry Christmas," "Hark, the Herald Angels Sing" and "Joy to the World" before giving up in a fit of giggles.

"Most of the people like what they hear," he said with a grin before adding: "Oh, the windows are up. It could be worse. I don't know how, but it could be."

I don't know how it could have been better. The sunshine glinted off the Atlantic. People along the way honked and waved hang loose signs.

My cheeks hurt from smiling as I left the beach and drove over the Pineda Causeway. Christmas Eve will be here soon, and hundreds of surfers with red suits and white beards will paddle out into the waves.

Until then, I'll be singing Christmas carols and hanging loose.

Want to sing carols with us?

George and Nihla Trosset have promised to meet me at 5 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 19 in Cocoa Village's Riverfront Park to sing Christmas Carols. George will bring the Tin Woody. Come out and join us.

Suzy Fleming Leonard is a veteran features journalist. You can reach her via email at sleonard@floridatoday.com. Or you can find her on Facebook: @SuzyFlemingLeonard or on Instagram: @SuzyLeonard

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This article originally appeared on Florida Today: Surfing Santas founder takes time out for carols and conversation

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