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HWAC’s 9th Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon is September 7th

2014 Paddleboard dog Preston with Laura Nativo
2014 Paddleboard dog Preston with Laura Nativo
Helen Woodward Animal Center

It’s that time of year again – time to unleash the dogs so that they can hit the waves. Each year, near the end of summer, Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) invites dog participants to ride the waves in their Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon.

This year is the 9th Annual event and it is being presented by Blue Buffalo. The canine Surf-A-Thon will take place in less than two weeks on Sunday, September 7th beginning at 8:00 a.m. at Dog Beach in Del Mar, California and lasting until 2:00 p.m. (PST). HWAC wants you to know that your pups are invited to climb on board as well!

This doggy event is loved by all and becomes bigger and bigger as years progress. This year, in addition to the “hang twenty” competition, local surFURs from gromMUTTs to PAW-fessionals will cheer from the sidelines as Stand Up Paddleboarding Pups lead their very first Paddle Paws Parade!

HWAC’s doggy surf contest is the largest of its kind in the United States. This year more than 80 dogs will be surfing in four different weight class competitions. The winners of each contest will be selected based upon their ability to ride the waves, to have fun, and to stay on their surfboards. Many of the contestants have been keeping their eyes on the prize, “Top Surf Dog 2014.”

In hopes of winning the top honor, many of the hopefuls have attended recent Surf Dog classes on select Saturday mornings. Each surFUR heat will be judged by celebrities, surf pros and aficionados.

Other dog-and-family friendly activities scheduled at the September 7th Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon include the Beach Bum Bikini Babe Canine Costume Contest; over 70 interactive vendor booths including some of the top brands of pet products and surf gear; and a Special Kid’s Activity area – with crafts, face painting, games and more!

This year, for the very first time, Stand Up Paddle “Pawers” will have the opportunity to show off the hottest new dog sport hitting the water. Of course Helen Woodward Animal Center is leading the pack with this PUPular new canine-craze by hosting a Paddle Paws Parade beginning at 10:15 a.m. on the day of the competition. Laura Nativo, Pet Trainer, Pet Lifestyle Host of Hallmark Channel's Emmy-Nominated Series, Home & Family, and Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) Semi Pro will serve as Paddleboard Ambassador, leading the parade along with her Pomeranian SUP-ing pup, Preston.

Each and every year, this family-oriented dog event has a lot to celebrate, but seeing that this year is the 9th year of the competition, supporters, sponsors and families of individual canine athletes have called “all paws on deck” to get as many participants as possible to help surf and/or fundraise to help support the great programs and rescue capabilities at Helen Woodward. To date, the participants have already raised thousands! Many pooches who are “paw-ing it forward” by raising funds will sport blue “Rescue Hero” bandanas at the event to show their commitment to their fuzzy friends still awaiting forever families back at the Center.

There’s still time to register your favorite, four-footed, “paw-some” surfer. Surf Dog Heats cost $35 per registered pup and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be awarded for each weight class with the top winners from each category invited back to surf in a final “Best in Surf” at 1:00 p.m. SUP-loving attendees are invited to join the Paddle Paws Parade for a $10 entry fee and furry fashionistas can enter the costume contest for only $10 per dog. All proceeds from the annual competition and festivities go towards the pets and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center.

Helen Woodward Animal Center invites Southern California dogs (and any others wanting to participate) to climb “on board.” For more information on the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon or to register your dog as a surf competitor, visit or call 858-756-4117 x 350. You may also stop by Helen Woodward Animal Center at 6461 El Apajo Road, Rancho Santa Fe in Rancho Santa Fe.

For those ‘land lovers’ who may live too far away to attend, the dog surfing portion of Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon will be broadcasted via livestream at, or by downloading the Ustream app to your phone or tablet.

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