Here, at last, is my report on the Loews Surf Dog Competition. Sort of. It’s still more about my friend Clare, our dogs, Frankie and Archie, and a cast of supporting characters who became involved by sheer coincidence.


So…Clare and I didn’t manage to get to the contest site, Imperial Beach, early enough to nab parking in the vicinity. We agreed that Clare and Archie would search for a place to put the car while Frankie and I scoped out the crowded beach for a blanket-plopping spot.

As soon as Clare drove off, I run into Mike Harris. A realtor and border tour guide (not to mention all around nice guy), Mike is the significant other of my friend Jane Onstott. Jane, as her website proclaims, is a Mexico guru.  Two weeks earlier, she and Mike had stopped in Tucson en route to San Miguel de Allende from San Diego, with Jane’s collie, Lulu, and her cat, Carlos. I had last seen them all sitting on the bed of a Motel 6 watching a hockey game. Carlos and Lulu were, naturally, rooting for different teams.

By the time I arrived in San Diego, Jane and her menagerie were settled in San Miguel, while Mike had returned to San Diego. Who knew?  His office, at Spirit Realty, turned out to be right near the stretch of Imperial Beach where the surf dog contest was being held.

Mike had just emerged from his office, seeking a burrito, when he spotted me.

Appropriate expressions of surprise and delight exchanged, I went off on my own mission, to find a viewing spot for the contest. Mike said to be sure to stop by his office after the event — and during it if we needed to use the bathroom. Beach restrooms, especially those in the proximity of great quantities of dogs, being generally less than desireable, this last offer was much appreciated.

I found a spot, as did, in their own assigned realm, Clare and Archie, who soon joined us.

The competition was a blast. Retrievers ruled in the over 40 pound category, nabbing 1st second and third place; terriers were tops in the under 40 pound slot. The tandem category, in which humans and dogs rode together, was a mixed bag, breed-wise. But all those details are on the contest’s website.

Archie, being from Santa Barbara, was in his element at the beach. The surprise: Tucson-raised Frankie turned out to be a sand ‘n’ surf fan, too. I won’t pretend he was excited by the crowds, but he was more relaxed than I’ve ever seen him among throngs of strangers. Must have been those negative ions.

After about an hour of surfdog action, we decided to head back to our luxe, dog-friendly digs at the Loews Coronado Bay Resort. But before we trekked off to the car, we stopped in to say hi to Mike (and his bathroom).

He asked how we liked the event, still ongoing. “Great,” I said, “Except that I forgot my camera.”

“I live nearby,” Mike said. “I’ll get my camera, and take some pictures for you.”

And so he did. They’re posted below. As I already mentioned, Mike is a really nice guy. If you’re going to buy a house in San Diego or take a border tour, I suggest you go to him.

Watching in the water
Watching in the water
One of the proud participants
One of the proud participants
A surfdog fashionista
A surfdog fashionista

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