‘Get on board’ for Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 10th Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon Sept. 13 in Del Mar

When a handful of locals and their beach-loving pups waded into the waves for Helen Woodward Animal Center’s first Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon in 2005, no one would have guessed that the canines catching those waves were also launching the beginning of a “bone-afied” athletic competition that would catch on across the world.

A decade later, “dogs on surfboards” has become a platform to raise life-saving funds and awareness for orphan pets at similar events worldwide. The 10th annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, presented by Blue Buffalo, will take place from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Sept. 13 at Dog Beach Del Mar.

To mark this milestone Helen Woodward Animal Center will induct multiple canine surf legends into the Surf Dog Hall of Fame.

The day won’t be all nostalgia and ceremony, though. Salty sea-dogs and their loving families will enjoy live beach tunes, a surprise 10th anniversary commemorative sand sculpture from San Diego Sand Castles, and regular event favorites including the Beach Bum & Bikini Babe Canine Costume Contest, more than 70 vendor booths with top brands of pet products and surf gear; and a special Kid’s Activity area!

Also on the roster, pups and people can join the Stand Up Paddle Paws Parade showing off the water sport that’s exploding around San Diego — paddle boarding. Helen Woodward Animal Center hosts a Paddle Paws Parade beginning at 10:15 a.m. event day.

Surf Dog Heats cost $35 per registered pup and first, second and third place will be awarded for each weight class, with the winners from each category invited back to surf in a final “Best in Surf” at 12:45 p.m. SUP-loving attendees are invited to join the Paddle Paws Parade (costumes encouraged!) for a $10 entry fee, and furry fashionistas can enter the costume contest for only $10 per dog. All proceeds go towards the pets and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center.

For information on the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon or to register your dog as a surf competitor, visit or call 858-756-4117, ext. 350; or stop by Helen Woodward Animal Center at 6461 El Apajo Road, Rancho Santa Fe.