Canine surf clinics and competitions
08:44 PM, Thursday, March 24
As surfing grows in popularity, many pet parents have discovered their dogs love to surf and enjoy surf-dog competitions. But remember that dogs can legally surf only at dog beaches, where competitions are held.

San Diego benefits from many local surf-dog events plus two major summer surf-dog competitions, both in their fourth year and offering doggie surfing lessons to teach first-timers surfing skills.

The annual June Loews Surf Dog Competition, sponsored by the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, is held at the Imperial Beach Dog Beach. This year more than 50 dogs competed in three categories: small surf dogs under 40 pounds, large surf dogs 41 pounds and over, and tandem teams with dogs and humans surfing together. This year’s competition raised about $15,000 to benefit the Modest Needs Foundation.

If you think your dog would enjoy surfing but you don’t know what to do, the Coronado Bay Loew’s offers year-round canine surfing classes, taught by the Coronado Surfing Academy (CSA), which are open to both guests and the general public as part of the hotel chain’s pet-friendly special amenities.

Coming up on Sept. 13 is the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, benefiting the Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC), held at Del Mar’s Dog Beach. Usually 50 to 60 dogs plus humans compete.

Before the competition, HWAC sponsors doggie surf clinics on Saturday, Aug. 8; Sunday, Aug. 16 and Saturday, Aug. 22, taught by surfing pros from the San Diego Surfing Academy, Swami’s Surfing Association, world champion surfer Guy Takayama (designer of dog-friendly Surfah Dog Surfboards, which are available for purchase) and pet trainer Rob Kuty.

For the Surf-A-Thon, both canine and human surfers gather sponsors among friends and family and raise money for animals according to the number of waves they catch. All proceeds help HWAC animal welfare programs.

For information about Loew’s Coronado Bay Resort’s Surf Dog Competition, call the hotel, (619) 424-4000, or visit their Surf Dog Web site at or CSA’s Web site at for canine surf lesson details.

For information about the Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, visit their website at and click on “events” and Surf Dog, which has links to Surf Dog Clinics and surfboards.
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