Man Surfs Dog: Our Top 10 Cowabunga Canines at Del Mar Charity Event

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Homer Henard of Santa Cruz does an impressive dismount over Skyler, his Queensland heeler, to earn style points. Photo by Chris Stone

Sugar was a lucky duck Sunday. Make that top canine at the 13th annual Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon, the crowd-pleasing competition that benefits the Helen Woodward Animal Center.

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Ryan Rustan’s collie mix — a veteran board-rider saved from a Huntington Beach shelter at 6 months old — was named Best in Surf, winning a hand-crafted wooden surf board trophy for Rustan at Del Mar’s Dog Beach. (All dogs took home goodie bags.)

Surf Gidget the pug took second. And Turbo the golden retriever was third at the event with a variety of weight classes and an expected 70 entries.

But with more than 100 people enjoying an overcast morning, the new Freestyle category — pairing humans and dogs on one board — offered some special flair.

Homer Henard of Santa Clara, doing a hula dance for style points, performed a jump in the air and over his dog, Skyler, into the water. The tandem pair topped Freestyle.

Top winners in each category were Turbo and Tristan for the freestyle contest, Skyler for a second freestyle section, Surf Gidget the Pug in the extra small dog group, Sugar in the small dog section, Faith in the medium category, Turbo in the large dog group, and Charlie in the extra large category.

Our favorite surFURS (their word) and surf humans (ours):

Ryan Rustan of Huntington Beach cuddles with his dog, Sugar, who won Best in Surf. Photo by Chris Stone
Jessi, a Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever of Encinitas, shakes off water after a surfing round. Photo by Chris Stone
Derby, a goldendoodle, retrieves a ball and heads into shore. Photo by Chris Stone
Kentucky Gallahue of Point Loma communes with Derby, his goldendoodle. Photo by Chris Stone
Two dogs bail out at the end of a ride in the Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Del Mar Dog Beach. Photo by Chris Stone
Surf was up for an owner and dog team in the competition. Photo by Chris Stone
Prince Dudeman of Culver City sits on the head of his owner, Ryan Thor, before a round. Photo by Chris Stone
Prince Dudeman shows off his hide and seek look before the competition. Photo by Chris Stone
Charlie the dog helps his owner by pulling his board out to sea. Photo by Chris Stone
Dogs enjoyed the warm surf in foggy conditions on Sunday morning at Del Mar Dog Beach. Photo by Chris Stone

The best of the rest:

Tristan and Turbo are dressed as an alien and astronaut in the tandem competition. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Christy O'Connor has time with Tristan before a surfing round. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Super Corgi JoJo makes a splash in the competition. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Dan Nykolayko spends quiet time with his French bulldog, Cherie, before the dog surfing competition. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Abby the dog sits on the shoulders of Mike Uy after competition. Photo by Chris Stonemore
More than 100 spectators watch the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s 13th annual Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon at Dog Beach. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Faith, a 6-year-old American pit bull terrier, leaps after surfing. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Hanging ten claws during the dog surfing competition. Photo by Chris Stonemore
About 70 dogs enjoyed the warm surf in the fog throughout the morning on Del Mar Dog Beach. Photo by Chris Stonemore
James Wall of El Cajon gets a hug from Faith, his 6-year-old American pit bull terrier, before the competition. Photo by Chris Stone more
Hanzo the boxer who began surfing when he was 8 months old, came out of retirement to hit the waves with a young human. Photo by Chris Stonemore
An owner rides a surfboard with his dog in the Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Del Mar Dog Beach. Photo by Chris Stonemore
An owner rides a surfboard with his dog in the Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Del Mar Dog Beach. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Bamboo sports a hat for the 2018 Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-a-Thon. Photo byChris Stonemore
A dog gets high-fives from the crowd before the Surf-a-Thon. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Jill Nakano surfs with her dog Carson at the Helen Woodward Surf Dog Surf-a-thon at Del Mar Dog Beach. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Teddy the goldendoodle wears shades, but the sun didn't come out until noon at Del Mar Dog Beach. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Tristan dons an alien costume while his partner on the board was dressed as an astronaut. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Prince Dudeman shows off his hide and seek look before the competition. Photo by Chris Stonemore
An owner gets a cool dude dog ready for competition. Photo by Chris Stone more
Hanzo starts to come off his surfboard at the end of a run with his companion. Photo by Chris Stonemore
More than 100 spectators gathered at Del Mar Dog Beach to watch the dog surfing rounds from very small to very large dogs. Photo by Chris Stonemore
Canines in the large dog category were the last to surf, but wave conditions deteriorated. Photo by Chris Stonemore
A dog takes advantage of the paw cooling station after walking around on hot sand. Photo by Chris Stonemore
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