2nd Annual Hang 8 Dog Surfing Extravaganza Brings Multitude of People and Pets to Beach

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Today, Flagler Beach Mayor Suzette Johnson and 7-11 owner, Eric Cooley, hosted the 2nd annual Hang 8 Dog Surfing Extravaganza. The event started off with vendors setting up along the beach while dogs and their human counterparts prepared for the competitions. The rough surf made it tricky for some of the four legged surfers, but many pressed on and competed.

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Good Times Dog Bar supplied staff for the event to assist in keeping the four legged athletes safe during the competition. People came to watch the surfing heats and brought their dogs with them to spend the day at the beach. Many of the four legged attendees were dressed up to be a part of the costume competition that was held later on in the day between surf heats.

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Copyright Flagler County Buzz

As the day wore on and the tide came in, people continued to show up to support this pet friendly activity. Hundreds if not close to a thousand people lined the beach to watch the dogs surf and to support the pet friendly event. Dogs of all breeds, colors, shapes, sizes, ages and abilities showed up to enjoy the day at the beach with their human counterparts.

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Both SMART of Flagler County and the Flagler Humane Society were both in attendance with adoptable dogs on site in an effort to find some of these four legged cuties their ‘Furever’ homes. Other vendors, mostly dog related, lined the beach selling costume hats, bandanas, shirts and even treats.

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We asked Flagler Beach Mayor Suzie Johnston what inspired her to start the Hang 8 Dog Surfing event, and she had this to say, “Eric Cooley and I had visited a dog surfing competition in St Augustine, and we thought well what a cool event! It was dogs on the beach and we thought well Flagler Beach is a dog friendly beach so what a great event to bring here to Flagler Beach. We decided to just put it on, and it’s just grown to this madness.” We asked her how she felt about the turnout for the 2nd annual event and she responded, “The turnout is fantastic, last year we expected 50 people to show up so this is blowing our expectations.”

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We asked Eric Cooley what he enjoyed best about this event, and his response was, “So many different things, I would say just exposure for the dogs. You know Flagler County has so many events and they are all for people. There are a lot of things dogs are not welcomed for, so just having a dog focused event on the beach, that is literally the reason why many of us made it. It being dog friendly, and being able to put it all together is really eye opening. Just getting them on the beach together.”

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We asked Heather Rogers owner of Salty Paws Animal Hospital how she felt about being at the Hang 8 Surfing event, and she had this to say, “This is amazing. This is an annual one, last year rocked it, so they repeated it this year. We are so happy to sponsor this, I am judging the costume contest which is going to be awesome. Great way to bring people and pets together, love it.”

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Carly Tajmir with East Coast Animal Hospital told us how excited are they were to be sponsoring an event like this, “Oh it is wonderful to be part of the community and see the community kind of embrace dogs. And to be a part of this with Suzie and the rest of Flagler is great here.”

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The event was a wonderful success even if the surf was on the rough side. The community came out in full force to support this dog friendly event, which helped with uniting pets and owners, as well as providing a great crowd to come through and meet adoptable dogs from our shelters, while having a great time partying on the beach and watching the brave four legged surfers.

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By Krys DeWind

Krys DeWind has been a Flagler County resident since 2016. She is active in her community and is always looking for ways to better it. She has a community first attitude which is one of the central founding ideals of the Flagler County Buzz.

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