Thursday, June 18, 2009
If you love to travel with your dog and want something different this summer, you may want to visit San Diego. It will be hosting the world’s largest surfing competition which will be taking place on Saturday, June 20 at the Coronado Dog Beach. It’s amazing that dogs could surf, let alone have a competition all their own, as I spoke with Anne Stephany of the Coronado Bay Resort Hotel about this incredible event.
“Four years ago, Loews being a pet-friendly organization, wanted to come up with a fun way for owners and dogs to spend time together.” It had a Learning Vacations for Pets program in other hotels and decided to start the Su’ruff Camp for dogs in San Diego, as a partnership with Teevan McManus, owner of the Coronado Surfing Academy. They had created special hotel packages for this purpose and the packages sold out during the first year.
Shortly afterward, the first surf dog competition began as a charity event so Loews could give back to the community. The event is organized by the Colorado Bay Resort’s Good Neighbor Council. It is a volunteer organization completely run by employees of the hotel. Every bit of planning is done in the employees’ spare time. The proceeds of the event will benefit Loews non-profit charity, the Modest Needs Organization. Since its inception, the Surf Dog Competition has raised over $25,000.
The competition is currently in its 4th year. It has garnered international attention from Japan, England, Spain and Germany. It has three categories. Category One is for dogs 40 pounds and under. Category Two is for dogs over 40 pounds and Category Three is for humans and dogs surfing in tandem. Entry fees are $50.00 for Category One and Two; and $55.00 for Category Three. Last year’s winners included: TJ, a Spanish Spaniel, Stoli, a Black Labrador and Zoey, a Jack Russell Terrier who won the tandem category with his owners Scott and Tyler Chandler.
The first year, there were twenty-eight canine participants and 500 people in attendance. This year, the organizers are expecting over 60 dogs and thousands of people as spectators. Dogs come from all over to catch a wave. One year, there was a dog from Alaska, and this year, there will be dogs from Hawaii and Arizona. The whole event is more of a festival including a special Chef’s barbeque by the chefs of the Coronado Bay Resort.
One of the best things about this competition Stephany says “is that you don’t have to be an expert to participate”. “One year, we had a dog walk in with his owner of the street and partake in the pre-competition practice session and come out with a first place medal.” She adds that “All dogs that enter are given a keepsake medal by Loews.”
If you would like to learn more about this, please check out their website at www.LoewsSurfDog.com.