TheCarmelValleyLife.com

We've all heard of the expression "if you can't run with the big dogs stay on the porch"... well at least for one day a year in Del Mar that becomes "if you can't surf with the little dogs stay on the beach"!!

The 8th Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, held at Dog Beach in Del Mar, is a wildly popular San Diego event that raises important funds for the Helen Woodward Animal Center. This is the largest canine surf contest in the country and featured over 80 dogs surfing in four different weight divisions. Up for grabs was the coveted "Top Surf Dog 2013" title which brings with it wagging rights at dog beaches and parks across San Diego County. Participants are also vying for the Top Fundraiser Grand Prize of a 5-day fishing trip to Mexico. Each heat will be judged by local celebrities and surf pros, including a local surf instructor named Kahuna Bob. This event continues to break records each year and so far has raised over $70,000 for Helen Woodward's mission of helping orphaned animals.

Defending her overall title from last year is Ricochet who competes in the large dog category. The competition is fast and furious as the dogs and handlers rush to get in as many waves as they can in a 20 minute time frame. Dogs are scored on the length of the ride, size of the wave, and other tricks on the board, such as turning around or riding backwards.

What's great is that the Surf-A-Thon event is more than just surfing. There was also the Beach Bum Canine Costume and some amazing acrobatics in the Flying Fido Frisbee Festival. If you're not a canine not to worry, there were also plenty of activities for us 2-legged types as well -- with over 40 interactive vendor booths and a Special Kid's Activity area, with Sandcastle Building, Musical Towels and a Hula Hoop Contest.

You can easily see why the Surf Dog Surf a Thon has quickly become a San Diego favorite! So I encourage everyone to go to Helen Woodward -- adopt a dog and start practicing "hanging twenty" so you can be a part of next year's big event.

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