The dogs compete for the title of best surfer

Dogs Across San Diego County Prepare for the Annual Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon Sunday to show off their wave-catching prowess on a surfboard.

In keeping with tradition, dozens of pooches will gather at Del Mar Dog Beach and head out into the water where they will compete for the title of Top Dog. Winners are chosen based on their ability to ride the waves and stay on their board.

The 17th annual contest, which was one of the first of its kind, is hosted by the Helen Woodward Animal Center to raise funds for Rancho Santa Fe-based nonprofit programs that go far beyond its animal services. adoption of pets.

The annual Helen Woodward Animal Center Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon also includes a canine costume contest.

(Courtesy of Helen Woodward Animal Center)

A launch ceremony for Remember Me Thursday Week begins at 8 a.m. on the sand to honor the shelter’s pets who have never been adopted. The non-profit organization Remember Me Thursday’s global campaign, which raises awareness of the importance of pet adoption to reduce euthanasia, will be held on September 22.

After the ceremony, canine competitors surf in 10-minute heats judged by a panel of pros and surfing aficionados. Competitors will be judged on the length of their ride, their wave technique, their enthusiasm and their confidence on the board. First, second and third place winners will be awarded for each weight class, and first place winners will advance to the finals – the Best in Surf competition, where they compete for the title of Top Dog. More than 70 dogs are expected to compete.

Dogs and their canine pals or human friends can also participate in the Freestyle Surf Contest where points are awarded for creativity. The competition, often a favorite of spectators, includes tandem rides as well as tricks and costumes to impress the judges.

The family-friendly event includes a “Sporting Legends”-themed canine costume contest, live beach music, and a free kids’ area with crafts and games. The “BARKet Place” features exhibitor booths with pet products and local businesses giving out giveaways. There will be a free agility class for dogs to try, sponsored by San Diego Pet Training, as well as an awards ceremony.

The surf competition, presented by Blue Buffalo from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Del Mar Dog Beach is free. Event parking is available for a $20 donation at the corner of Border Avenue and Via De La Valle and Highway 101.

Freestyle Heats starting at 10:30 a.m. and Best in Surf around 12:50 p.m. will be streamed live at and @HWAC on Instagram.

Surf contest fees are $60 (registration closes Wednesday) and canine costume contest is $15 (participants welcome). The Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon t-shirt is $20.

For more information or to register, visit or call (858) 756-4117, ext. 362.