Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon returns Sept. 12

More than 70 surfing dogs are expected to participate Sunday, Sept. 12, in the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon.
More than 70 surfing dogs are expected to participate Sunday, Sept. 12, in the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon.
(Courtesy of Helen Woodward Animal Center


The longest running doggie surf competition returns to Del Mar Dog Beach to close out the summer and raise life-saving funds for orphan pets at Helen Woodward Animal Center.

While competitors were not present in 2020 at Del Mar Dog Beach, the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon continued virtually and welcomed contestants from all over the world for the first time in its 16-year history. Now surfers are eager to pounce back into the water and fetch top dog honors at the event. Over 70 surfing dogs are expected Sunday, Sept. 12, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Del Mar Dog Beach for the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon presented by Blue Buffalo.

With COVID-19 CDC regulations in mind, adjustments have been made to this year’s event to keep contestants safe. There will be fewer surfers allowed to compete in each heat, and each surfing canine is restricted to a total of two humans in the water with them – their owner and a “catcher.” Cutting down on the number of human team members in the surf with each dog will provide more space and less crowding for all participating competitors.

Spectators are invited to safely watch the action from the beach and are encouraged to practice proper safety precautions.

Following the surfing competition. The BARKet Place, sponsored by Petco, will feature a variety of exhibitor booths with pet products and local businesses handing out giveaways.

San Diego Pet Training will also be hosting a free agility course for dogs to try out. Ahead of the awards ceremony, the center will induct a new honoree into the Surf Dog Hall of Fame during a special ceremony. Plus, the Costume Contest invites creative canines to strut their stuff on the catwalk, sign-ups are open right now.

Registration is still available for surf-loving canines to enter the surf and freestyle contests. 100 percent of the proceeds from the event support the life-saving work at Helen Woodward Animal Center. Top fundraising pooches not only get to help orphan pets, they will win outstanding prizes including a commemorative 2021 Surf-Dog Surf-A-Thon surf board for first place.

The 16th Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon is free to attend. Parking will be available at the corner of Border Avenue / Via De La Valle and Hwy. 101 / Camino Del Mar for a $20 donation.

For more information and to pre-order your official Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon t-shirt, go to or call (858) 756-4117 ext. 358.