Paw-Abunga! Dog Surf Lessons Start This Weekend

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Grab your best four-legged friend, Doggy surfing lessons are baaaaaack !

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While it’s no strange sight to see first-time surfers take to the waves along the Southern California coast in summer surf camps, visitors to Del Mar North Beach may be doing a double-take. The beginning of summer at the dog-friendly beach also signals the start of a uniquely furry surf school – Helen Woodward Animal Center’s annual Dog Surf and SUP Lessons!

On Sunday, June 18, local beach-loving pups will splash into summer with Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Surf Dog classes at Dog Beach in Del Mar. Calmer-sea-inclined canines won’t have to stay on the sand either thanks to a Paddle Paw Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP) class in the Del Mar Dog Beach Channel.

The  classes are taught by beloved local group SoCal Surf Dogs with opportunities to join in all summer long. Originally offered to prepare beach-loving pups for the Center’s Annual “Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon,” scheduled for Sunday, September 10 the lessons have expanded to accommodate pros and beginners alike.

The summertime surf classes will feature expert instruction from legendary leaders of the pack – the SoCal Surf Dogs – teaching basic and advanced surFUR techniques.  Classes are great for dogs and their owners at any experience level.   Those more inclined to the calmer seas may choose to enroll in stand-up paddleboarding, with SoCal SUP Dogs leading the instruction.

“This is a great activity for water-loving dogs to try out with their families,” said Jessica Gercke, PR director at Helen Woodward Animal Center. “If your dog is already a ‘beach dog,’ they may love the sport, and it can be a great bonding experience between pups and owners. Of course, not every dog enjoys surfing, and we’re more than happy to send them back to dry land for more traditional beach romping. It’s all about safety and fun in the sun!”

Helen Woodward Animal Center Surf Dog lessons offer limited spaces in each class to maximize safety and fun, so spots fill up quickly.  Surf classes run 50 minutes in length and Paddleboarding classes run 70 minutes in length, each take place mostly in the water with brief on-land instruction at the start.

All classes cost $45 with a 20% discount offered off any additional lessons, and include the required canine life-vests and surf or paddle boards.   Lessons are scheduled at 8:30 a.m. (Stand-Up Paddleboard only), 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon on June 18, July 16 and July 22 and Aug. 13, and Aug. 19.  Dogs who take to the waves are encouraged to register for Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 12th annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon on Sept. 10. All proceeds from the classes and the annual competition go toward the animals and programs at Helen Woodward Animal Center.

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For more information, questions or to register, go to or call (858) 756-4117 x 350.  You may also stop by Helen Woodward Animal Center at 6461 El Apajo Road, in Rancho Santa Fe.

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