Yellow Lab Wins Dog Surfing Championship After Sharks Cause Half-Hour Delay - petsitterbank

Yellow Lab Wins Dog Surfing Championship After Sharks Cause Half-Hour Delay

Lily, the surfing yellow labrador retriever, didn’t let sharks keep her from winning the 10th Annual East Coast Dog Surfing Championships for the second time in a row.

Taking place over Easter Sunday, this year’s championships did face their first-ever shark delay. The only harm the sharks did was to the event’s schedule, forcing a half-hour delay to wait for the fish to vacate the area.

“I must say in the 10 years of this event we’ve never had a delay in the contest due to a shark sighting (within 10 feet from the shore). As exciting as it was, we are very grateful to the lifeguards for keeping our pet families safe (and it was worth the half hour delay to let the sharks move on!),” Theresa Clifton, executive director of the Brevard Humane Society, told Newsweek.

“We have always been very attentive to the sand dunes to protect the turtle population but I must admit we have never given consideration to the sharks until now!” she added.

Once the curious carnivores were on their way, eight dogs competed to be the best surfing dog in the entire East Coast. Though the pups gave their all, it was Lily, 6, who won the day. Bolt cam in second. Other award winners were Pancake, who won the Dog Bikini Contest, and Nugget, who won the Buddy Award, according to Florida Today.

“As for the 2022 East Coast Dog Surfing championship, 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 told Newsweek.

Lily won last year as well—and she’s not the only surfer in the family. Lily’s sister Laila is also a surfing dog, so the enjoyment of watersports clearly runs—or swims—in the family.

Lily, a dog similar to the one in this stock photo, won the East Coast Dog Surfing Championship this weekend.
Dan Baciu/Getty

Clifton said that the event raised about $15,000 overall. The entry fee was $25, and there were a number of side events, including surfing lessons for both kids and dogs for $10 each and a best Easter outfit contest. Parking also cost $10 as a fundraiser for the Brevard Humane Society. The event itself was free to attend, and there was $500 worth of prizes for entrants to compete over.

“We are grateful for everyone coming out to the event, and the support we received from Ron Jon’s surf shop for sponsoring it, as we raised almost $15,000 for the homeless animals in our community!” she told Newsweek.

In addition to being the primary sponsor of the event, the Ron Jon Surf Shop paid for beach access and patrols, according to Florida Todayand other local businesses donated $1,000 to the shelter, Clifton said.

“It was a beautiful, sunny day, the crowds massive, it went really well,” Clifton told Florida Today. “And with all of our great volunteers, we’ll leave the beach cleaner than when we found it.”

The event has been put on since 2013 by the Brevard Humane Society as a fundraiser. The event has become the main Easter weekend surfing contest during Cocoa Beach’s Easter Surf Festival, Florida Today says.

Like most events, the Easter Surf Festival was originally intended for humans. But even though the Easter Surf Festival has been going on for 58 years, people have slowly stopped showing up to compete. In 2017, the event was almost canceled due to budgetary requirements.

“Well, it kind of grew, and now it’s just us,” Clifton told Florida Today.

Update (4/18/2022, 11 p.m.): This article has been updated to include comment from Theresa Clifton.

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