Can you believe that the dogs of Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) are already making their preparations to participate in the 8th Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon. First, however, the dogs may want to take some much needed Surf Dog Lessons that will be available at Dog Beach in Del Mar.
June 20th was actually International Surfing Day, so it is certainly the appropriate time to get the “grommutts”-in-training started preparing to be the best surfers that they can possibly hope to be! The participating dogs will get some very special expert instruction from legendary leaders of the pack – the So Cal Surf Dogs.
The classes, scheduled to begin on Saturday, June 29th at 9:30 a.m. with a dedication ceremony of 10 brand new Surf Dog Surf Boards (donated by the “SurFur” Dogs and their owners who are also teaching the dogs). The first class will begin directly afterward at 10:00 a.m.
The classes are highly anticipated each year and lead up to the canine surf competition, a September event that has earned a reputation for attracting four-legged, ocean-obsessed athletes from up and down the coast. The Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon is the largest canine competition of its kind. This year’s “grommutts”-in-training just might have a leg up on their competition.
Center friends Kahuna Bob (from Kahuna Bob’s Surf School) and Rob Kuty (from San Diego Pet Training) have volunteered their time again to Surf Dog Lessons just as they have done over the past several years. They will be introducing hundreds of pups to the thrill of the surf. With an increased demand for more individualized surf dog instruction, this year’s number of classes is anticipated to be greater, containing fewer dogs allowed each session. The new format is ideal for Surf Dog hopefuls but creates significant scheduling challenges for the two former instructors whose businesses hit their high-points during the summer months.
In order to fill in the gaps, the So Cal Surf Dogs came to the rescue, leaping at the opportunity to lead the popular classes. They are volunteering their skills in order to familiarize the dogs and their owners with the pleasures of the club’s favorite beach-sport. The So Cal Surf Dogs had already been a major part of the annual lessons, donating hands-on assistance to newbie board-riding “bubbas” (cool dogs) (in addition to providing Surf Dog lesson suggestions on their popular website,www.socalsurfdogs.com, and living the true-blue Surf Dog lifestyle with their own sea-savvy pets) so taking over as primary instructors was a natural fit. San Diego Pet Training will also continue assisting with the classes this year – overseeing and guiding as a safety feature and training benefit.
So Cal Surf Dogs was founded in 2009 and now ranks as one of the most highly regarded clubs for Surf Dogs and their owners in the United States. Their members include such renowned “SurFurs” as Ricochet, Dozer, Nani, Bodie and “The Ambassador of Dog Surfing,” Buddy. The group promote safe and fun Dog Surfing. The added benefit for the dogs includes the mental and physical health for both the dogs and their human counterparts.
The So Cal Surf Dogs continually take home top trophies in multiple coastal canine surfing competitions. They made big names of themselves thus they have had the opportunity to appear on-screen in major commercials and films such as Marmaduke and Beverly Hills Chihuahua. They are also very popular in magazines worldwide as well.
For as busy as they are, the group is most impressive because they are consistently generous to a wide variety of animal rescue groups and animal welfare organizations throughout Rancho Santa Fe, California. Besides providing helping “paws” at HWAC’s Surf Dog Lessons, they also have been loyal participants at the September Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon since its inception. They continually rank among the top fundraisers for the annual event.
So Cal Surf Surf Dog Ricochet and her owner Judy Fridono were named the top individual fundraisers at last year’s competition, making an impressive contribution of over $7,000. Asked about her extraordinary efforts surrounding the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, Fridono explained, “Ricochet and I are proud to represent the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon event because it personifies what dog surfing is all about, having fun with your dog, celebrating the human/animal bond, and most importantly, raising funds for orphaned animals.”
In addition to the regular Surf Dog “Grommutt” classes this year, the So Cal Surf Dogs will teach two introductory classes. The beginner classes are recommended for anyone whose dog has had limited experience on the beach and needs an opportunity to familiarize itself with the surf, the sand and just to find out if the sport is right for them.
Each Helen Woodward Animal Center Surf Dog lesson will cost $45 per dog (one adult human per dog please). The price includes the required life vests and surf boards. Each lesson will be limited to 10 dogs per class and classes run about an hour in length. One thing is certain; pet owners hoping to teach their dog to surf couldn’t find a group of more expert or passionate instructors to take their pup from a “Barney” to the “Big Kahuna.”
Registration is currently open for all of the Doggie Surf Lessons that are scheduled for Saturdays at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m. and Noon on June 29th, July 20th and 27th and August 10th, 17th and 24th. Dogs who take to the waves are encouraged to register for Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 8th Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon on Sept. 8th, 2013.
All proceeds from the classes and the annual competition go towards the animals and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center. For more information or to register, visit www.surfdogsurfathon.org or call 858-756-4117 x 356. You may also stop by Helen Woodward Animal Center at 6461 El Apajo Road, Rancho Santa Fe in Rancho Santa Fe, or log on to www.animalcenter.org.