After nine years of the East Coast Dog Surfing Championships, sharks had never been an issue. The competing canines had always been able to peacefully surf without having to worry about what lurked beneath the water. But for the 10th annual competition in Cocoa Beach, Florida, there were many complications when a shark sighting occurred.
Of course, the safety of the dogs is a priority during this event. So, the people in charge postponed the competition until the coast was clear. After some sharks passed by, the surfing dogs hopped on the waves and had just as much fun as they always do.
Sudden Shark Sightings
Shortly before the contest was supposed to begin, sharks were spotted within 10 feet of the shore. The contest, which is hosted by the Brevard Humane Society, was postponed for a half hour. They waited for the sharks to pass before resuming the adorable competition.
“I must say in the 10 years of this event we’ve never had a delay in the contest due to a shark sighting. As exciting as it was, we are very grateful to the lifeguards for keeping our pet families safe,” said Theresa Clifton, executive director of the Brevard Humane Society.
Clifton added that they’d always been careful of turtles and sand dunes when planning the event, but they never expected to encounter sharks. Once the carnivores were out of sight, the eight dogs competing prepared for their surfing showdown.
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Michael Vogt, the owner of surfing dog Lily, wasn’t too frightened by the sharks. He joked that driving on Florida’s “I-4” was more dangerous. Yet, lifeguards made sure all humans and animals were out of the water just to be safe.
The Surfing Contest Continues!
Lily, the 6-year-old Labrador Retriever, ended up winning the competition for the second year in a row. Her canine sister Laila is also an impressive surfer. A dog named Bolt came in second and Nugget the Chihuahua came in third. A pup named Pancake didn’t come in the top three, but people adored his inflatable shark fin. Regardless of the results, every dog in the competition did an incredible job!
“Lily quickly became the crowd favorite as she caught wave after wave with what appeared to be little effort. Bolt was a close second (he even caught one wave in backwards!) but was unable to take the lead from Lily as she pawed her way into retaining the title again this year!” Clifton said.
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The event raised about $15,000 for the humane society. In addition to the surfing contest, guests could also enjoy surfing lessons for kids and dogs, along with a canine Easter costume contest. Ron Jon Surf Shop was a sponsor who paid for the beach access.
Many kind-hearted volunteers showed up to make sure everyone left the beach cleaner than they found it. There used to be a similar human surfing contest around Easter time, but the dog version ended up gaining more popularity and eventually replaced it. After all, who can resist a group of surfing dogs living their best lives?