Frigid weather doesn’t stop Santas surfing off Florida’s central coast

COCOA BEACH, Florida– For surfing Santas off Florida’s central coast, the Atlantic felt more like the North Pole than the Sunshine State as temperatures dipped to around freezing on Saturday morning while at least half the state was on freeze warnings.

Parts of the Florida Panhandle had wind chills Saturday morning dipping into the single digits, and in parts of central Florida interior temperatures dropped to as high as 27 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 2.7 degrees Celsius).

The image above is from the Christmas 2021 event in Australia

“It’s a chilly start to #Christmas Eve around the area,” the Tallahassee National Weather Service tweeted.

Miami was among the last remnants of warm U.S. weather on Friday, but by Saturday morning temperatures had fallen below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius) for the first time in nearly a year. South Florida residents watched for falling iguanas. The cold-blooded reptiles that live in the Miami suburbs usually become immobilized when temperatures drop below 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.4 degrees Celsius).

Despite the freezing temperatures, the 14th annual Christmas Eve Surfing Santas Festival took place Saturday morning on Cocoa Beach on Florida’s Space Coast.

The event has grown from 10 surfers in Santa Claus costumes when it started in 2009 to hundreds of participants on surfboards, boogie boards and paddleboards in recent years. Almost 140 surfers braved the cold water on Saturday morning. Nearly 10,000 spectators came to cheer them on, and a beachside restaurant gave out free hot cocoa to help them stay warm, organizers said.

Copyright © 2022 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Frigid weather doesn’t stop Santas surfing off Florida’s central coast

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