Surf dog Dozer and Gigi Bagaporo check out the Helen Woodward Animal Center summer dog surfing classes. Courtesy photo
Surf dog Dozer and Gigi Bagaporo check out the Helen Woodward Animal Center summer dog surfing classes. Courtesy photo
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Pups hit the shore during summer surf classes

RANCHO SANTA FE — Helen Woodward Animal Center invites campers to a summer assortment of animal-focused activities that will not only delight pet-lovers of all ages but will support the center’s orphan pets and programs.


From surfing and stand-up paddle boarding with your pooch to petting a giant Flemish rabbit or an alpaca to curling up in the sun with a great animal-themed novel and your cat, the dog days of summer are about to begin.

You can splash into summer with Surf Dog lessons at Dog Beach in Del Mar.   The beloved “Hang 20” classes feature expert instruction from the So Cal Surf Dogs – teaching basic and advanced techniques to dogs. The classes are offered in two levels, “Intro to the Ocean” for beginners and “GromMutt Dog Surfing” for the pros. New this year, water-loving dogs and their owners can try stand-up paddle boarding classes, too.  These classes are great for the less adventurous pups that prefer calm waters to white-water surf.

Each class is 50 minutes long and includes all required equipment, from canine life-vests to surf boards to paddleboards. Class cost is $45 with a $10 discount offered off any additional lessons. Classes begin June 28 and continue on select Saturdays and Sundays through August with class times scheduled for 8:30 a.m. (stand-up paddle board only), 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon. Spots are limited to allow for individual attention. For more information, questions or to register, go to or call (858) 756-4117, ext. 350.

Lessons can be taken for fun or in preparation for Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Annual “Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon.”  The Sept. 7 canine surf competition is the largest of its kind and has earned a reputation for attracting four-legged, ocean-obsessed athletes from up and down the coast. This year’s event will feature a Stand-Up Paddle Paws Parade, as well.


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