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Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Fifth Annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition

The fifth annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition was held in Imperial Beach Saturday. Despite the big surf and cloudy, cool weather, the dogs and their owners shared the stoke in the contest, which drew an estimated 2,000 spectators and their four-legged friends.

The contest was a fundraiser for the San Diego Police Department's Canine Unit. "Loews Hotel is very pet friendly," said Public Relations Director Anne Stephanie. "About six years ago we launched a dog surfing program at our hotel. The response that we got from that program was overwhelming, so we've turned it into an annual fundraiser."

There were three categories in the competition: small dogs under forty pounds, large dogs over forty pounds, and the tandems, which consisted of the dogs and their owners on the surfboard together. This was the very first year that this category was added. "Kalani won the contest last year," said Andra Lew of her Golden Retriever, who also won the tandem contest this year along with Lew's other Golden Retriever, Ricochet. "I don't think that it had anything to do with me. It had everything to do with her staying on the board and impressing the judges." Kalani is two and a half years old, and in addition to being a talented surf-dog, she is also a certified pet-therapy dog, and an accomplished dock dog-jumper. 'Her personal best at dock dog-jumping is eighteen feet one inch," said Lew. "She's been surfing and dock dog-jumping since she was five months old."

To get a closer look at the surfing pooches, many on-lookers braved cold water and the occasional drenching clean-up set. Several times the MC of the event had to remind them to stand clear of the strategically placed cones so that the contest judges were offered a clear view of the dogs in the water. Many of the spectators brought their own dogs, many of which were clad in very unique costumes.

April Pasko of Encinitas, who also participated in the competition, had her two Nova Scotia Duck Talling Retrievers dressed in bright-colored dog bikinis. "They're more commonly known as 'Tollers' in the dog world," said Pasko. One of the dogs, Torri, was also the third place winner in the small dogs category. "Torri has been surfing since she was eighteen months. When we would run down the beach she would always watch the dogs and surfers like, I wanna do that." According to Pasko, the best way to teach a dog to surf is to take them out on a very calm day and let them get comfortable in the water and on the surfboard.

Just before the winners of the competition were announced, a member of the San Diego Police Department's Canine Unit fielded questions about their program, which the contest directly benefited. There had been a police dog demonstration planned, but it was cancelled due to the large amounts of dogs in the crowd.

With the sun finally breaking through, the winners of the contest were announced. In the small dogs category, an Australian Kelpie named Abbey Girl was the standout. The large dogs winner was a Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Stanley, and the winners of the tandem category were the two dogs Ricochet and Kalani, also known as the 'Twisted Sisters'. The first place winners of the contest walked away with a one-night stay at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort, with their furry friends of course.

1 comment:

  1. Following your blog, Chris...can't wait to dive in.