There must have been some magic happening because in 2010, some of George’s friends asked about his Surfing Santa stunt from the previous year and whether or not he was going to repeat it. George said, “I don’t know. Come to the beach house and we’ll figure it out!” That year they had 19 Surfing Santas, some in genuine, velour Santa suits.
George said they learned a few things that year. “You can’t surf in a 100-pound Santa suit safely. My son wore his outfit, red stockings like an elf might wear, but you can’t stand on a surfboard in red nylon stockings, either.”
In 2011, they had 87 people come out for the event. If that wasn’t magical enough, something else happened. “This guy called me up and said, ‘My name’s Chuck Julian and I’m a stunt parachute pilot. How about if we come and parachute in on your Surfing Santa event?’ I said, ‘Bring it on’,” George explains.
Six parachuters in Santa garb jumped out of a plane and landed on the beach. George recalls the surprise and excitement of that day: “You’re out surfing, having a good time, and then you look up!”
Meanwhile, the event kept growing year after year, and the parachuters came back, too. In 2014, Surfing Santas had grown to over 300 people, with 48 parachuting Santas jumping out of three planes. “How exciting was it to have a couple hundred surfers in the water and 48 skydiving Santas! There was all this excitement around the event and it set the tone that Surfing Santas is fun,” George says.
But at the same time, all that excitement worried him, too. While the parachuting was done safely, George was concerned about potential accidents and liability. He and Nihla also had to acknowledge that Surfing Santas had outgrown their little beach house.
“We had only one bathroom, and—no regrets—but it was a big clean up,” he says.