We’re less than a week away from a Niagara Christmas tradition. On Monday, the Surfing Santa will windsurf the frigid waters from Fort Erie to Buffalo. All to raise awareness for homelessness. CHCH caught up with John Fulton as he prepares for his yearly journey.
You don’t have to wait until Christmas Eve to watch Santa ride the waves… december 23rd is the day john fulton – better known as the surfing santa – will windsurf across the niagara river: “For the last three decades I’ve been using the media coverage to draw attention to homelessness world wide.”
This year, he’s collecting new warm socks to give to those in need and raising awareness about the local united way’s initiative to build a shelter for men, families and homeless veterans.
Carol Stewart-Kirby is with the United Way of Niagara Falls and Greater Fort Erie: “We’re working on a model that will serve those three different needs to be located in Niagara Falls.”
And it’s with the spirit of encouraging people to give back this time of year, that Fulton dons Santa’s red suit over his dry suit to surf his way to the States. But things haven’t always gone so smoothly. In 2002, Fulton was arrested for illegally entering the U.S. when he came ashore to re-rig his sail. But that’s all in the past, and now border patrol helps out with his yearly mission.
Fulton says: “They put boats in the water to keep an eye on me while I make my trek across the river and back.”
Once border patrol was officially on board, so too was Niagara Helicopters. And now for the 2nd year in a row, they’ll be flying the Surfing Santa out to his launch site.
Fulton will be landing at Mather Arch in Fort Erie at 10am Monday before assessing where to launch depending on which way the wind is blowing.
And just in case there is no wind. The Surfing Santa has a paddle board on standby.
His website is: www.surfingsanta.com