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Press release content from PR Newswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

Winning Pawsome Surfer Pups Announced

September 14, 2020 GMT
Rescue Sugar takes this year’s title of “First Overall” in Helen Woodward Animal Center's 15th Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, sponored by Blue Buffalo.
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Rescue Sugar takes this year’s title of “First Overall” in Helen Woodward Animal Center's 15th Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, sponored by Blue Buffalo.
1 of 3
Rescue Sugar takes this year’s title of “First Overall” in Helen Woodward Animal Center's 15th Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, sponored by Blue Buffalo.

RANCHO SANTA FE, Calif., Sept. 14, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Despite the pandemic’s effect on all regularly scheduled frivolity this year, Helen Woodward Animal Center held its signature event, the Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon sponsored by Blue Buffalo, this past Sunday, September 13th. The 15th annual competition looked a bit different in 2020, with the necessary kibosh placed on a gathering that unites thousands of fans and participants at Del Mar Dog Beach each surf season. However, a new, on-line twist to the competition revealed an exciting silver lining – over 80 paw-some participants (from San Diego and as far away as New York, Honolulu, Japan, England, and Brazil) came together to reveal their love for surfing pups and to support orphan pets. Helen Woodward Animal Center is thrilled to announce this year’s winners.

Starting early August, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon PAWticipants took to the beach with their favorite humans. Registered in one of five weight classes for the virtual surf contest, sponsored by Petco Foundation, comPETitors submitted videos of their best wave (filmed between 8/6-9/6).

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Last week, a panel of judges including Sunshine Makarow, long-time Surf Dog judge, former US surf team member and Founder/Publisher of Surf Life for Women magazine; Mark Richards, life-long surfer and proud rescue dog owner; and Lisa Scarpa, surf aficionado and dog mom to HWAC alum Max, analyzed the surFUR “best wave” videos for length of ride, wave technique, and enthusiasm and confidence on the board. Titles were given to the best surFUR in each weight class, with the top competitors in each weight class given a second viewing by surf judges for the “Best Overall” titles. All video footage was compiled into an official Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon video, which premiered yesterday morning with winners announced.

Leading the pack of phenomenal surfing-Fidos this year was rescue-dog Sugar, who has 25 surfing awards to her name and claimed this year’s title of “First Overall.” 5-year-old Labrador Charlie Surfsup came in “Second Overall,” and TV and Instagram famous Surf Gidget the Pug came in “Third Overall.”

The surFUR competitors’ “best wave” videos also received on-line votes from the viewing public to select their favorite surfing dog. Surf Gidget the Pug, with over 4,000 votes, scored highest for the “People’s Choice Surfing Dog” award.

Petco’s Free Style surf competition (where costumes, flair and creativity points weigh in beyond mere athleticism) was another way SurFUR pups could compete in this year’s Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon. Freestyle surf winners included: The Seven Pupmariners (Brandy the Pug, Carson Surf Dog, Derby California, Faith Surfs, Flofy Tiny Surfer, Rusty the Surfing Min Pin and Team Tristan) in 1st Place; Oak, Koa, Lee and Asako in 2nd Place; and Myriam & Rafael from Honolulu in 3rd Place.

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For our land-loving pups, the competition was adorably “ruff” in the Couch Surfing Photo Contest, sponsored by Naturally Fresh. Entries came in from as far away as London, Brazil, New Orleans, Washington, New Mexico, and Pennsylvania. Couch Surfing Photo Contest Judges included actress, Kristin Bauer, cartoonist and author, Patrick McDonnell, media personality, Larissa Wohl, and producer, Michael Levitt. Top winners included Frankie in a “Surfing through Dozer’s Book” costume in 1st Place, Flofy Tiny Surfer from Brazil with her “Shark Surf-A-Thon Week” costume in 2nd Place, and Blackie with his “Couch-A-Bunga” costume in 3rd Place.

Of course at the heart of the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon is the cause. Thousands of dollars were raised by participants and surFUR fans with all proceeds supporting the pets and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center. Topping the fundraisers was surfing-Bulldog Rothstein owned by John Garcia.

Perhaps most heartwarming of all, however, is the way these surFUR pups united people across the world at a time when “social-distance” has kept so many apart. It also serves to remind us that “man’s best friend” can do phenomenal things.

For more information on the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon visit www.animalcenter.org or call 858-756-4117. You may also stop by Helen Woodward Animal Center at 6461 El Apajo Road, Rancho Santa Fe in Rancho Santa Fe.

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SOURCE Helen Woodward Animal Center