• Jefferson Graham

Surfin' Santa

Back in 1978, young Kevin Cody had a brainstorm.

What if he brought those old “Surfing Santa” illustrations to life? For real.


He put one of his surfing buddies on a board, dressed him as Santa Claus, photographed him, and splashed the photo on the cover of his young publication, Hermosa Beach based Easy Reader.

Surfing Santa became one of Cody’s best-read issues and a yearly tradition.

Cut to 2020, and Cody is still at it, 42 years later, and the yearly photo shows no signs of aging.

I joined Cody recently at the Neptune lifeguard tower in Manhattan Beach to document this year’s Surfing Santa shoot, where St. Nick is now adorned in a red and white wetsuit by Body Glove. We’ve got a fun video to watch above of the session. Please click the link to view.



P.S. Cody may or may not have originated the Surfing Santa concept, but it certainly has taken on a life of its own, with Santas in the waters of Pismo Beach, Santa Cruz, Florida and so many other coastal locales. Back then, “I never saw anyone actually surf on a board,” Cody says. “They were posing on the beach with a board.”

Not anymore!



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