- October 31, 2022
Elvis Presley’s “You Ain’t Nothin’ But a Hound Dog” wafted through the salty Flagler Beach air Saturday, May 20, to kick off the Hang 8 Dog Surfing Contest Big Dogs Heat. Canine competitors were judged on safety, having fun, quality of the wave and other skills like barking, turning around or riding backward.
At the end of the second heat, goldendoodle Charlie Brown snagged a gnarly perfect 10, edging out last year’s champ and roommate Mohawk Maui, who caught some radical waves in the first heat.
Hang 8 Dog Surfing is the brainchild of Flagler Beach Mayor Suzie Johnston and City Commissioner Eric Cooley.
After seeing “Pups and Sups” in St. Augustine Beach, the couple thought it would be perfect for Flagler Beach, even though dogs are usually prohibited on the city’s beaches. They anticipated 50 spectators and five dogs in 2022. The actual numbers far exceeded their expectations and doubled in 2023.
Keris Martinez heard about the event and drove from Miami to combine her first wedding anniversary with the opportunity to enter Chica in a surf contest. Martinez was surprised at the size of the event and disappointed in the surf. “It’s too big for Chica today,” Martinez said. But they intend to come back next year.
Travis Ajay, surf contest announcer, declared that Nick DeSantis had the best human outfit of the day – a colorful shirt with a variety of dog illustrations and “The Dog Father” emblazoned on the back. DeSantis seeks to rescue as many dogs as possible and volunteers with several local organizations to make that happen.
Not including the Dog Kissing Booth, 26 vendors participated in the Hang 8 Dog Surfing event, handing out merchandise samples and offering canine services or adoption opportunities. While attendance numbers are not available, the estimate was more than 1,000.
The Hang 8 Dog Surfing event benefits the Flagler County Humane Society, SMART Pet Rescue and K9s for Warriors.