Surf dogs are expected to head out to the waves at Del Mar Dog Beach again as they take part in the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon on Sunday.
More than 70 pooches are expected to show off their surfing prowess at the 16th annual family-oriented event, which was held virtually last year and drew international competitors.
Winners are chosen based on their ability to ride the waves and stay on their boards.
The dogs surf in 10 minute rounds judged by a panel of surf pros and aficionados. Competitors will be judged on the length of their ride, their wave technique, their enthusiasm and their confidence on the board. The first, second and third place winners will be awarded for each weight category and the first place winners will advance to the final – the Best in Surf competition, where they will compete for the title of Top Dog.
Dogs and their friends can also participate in the Freestyle Surf Contest where points are awarded for creativity. The competition, a spectator favorite, includes tandem walks for the dogs and their human or furry friends, as well as tricks and costumes.
Health protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will be observed and some changes have been made to this year’s event to ensure the safety of competitors. There will be fewer surfers in each round, and each surf canine is limited to a total of two humans in the water with them, their owner and a “catcher”.
BARKet Place, sponsored by Petco, will feature exhibitor booths with pet products and local businesses handing out gifts. San Diego Pet Training will be hosting a free dog agility class. There will also be a costume competition for the dogs to “strut the podium”.
During the event, a new winner will be inducted into the Surf Dog Hall of Fame during a ceremony.
The event, presented by Blue Buffalo, is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and free to spectators. Parking is available at the corner of Border Avenue / Via De La Valle and Coast Highway 101 / Camino Del Mar for a donation of $ 20.