FLAGLER BEACH – It’s not every time that you can tell when a local institution is becoming iconic, but it’s clear to see that’s what’s happening with Hang 8 Dog Surfing in Flagler Beach. The event was already more popular than expected at last year’s inaugural event, and this year’s running again far exceeded expectations. It’s a new lifeblood for the city of Flagler Beach.
Attending Hang 8 on Saturday was overwhelming in more ways than one. It was brutally hot out, as is to be expected, and the few city blocks that the event took up were jam-packed with people.
But for the events organizers, Mayor Suzie Johnston and City Commission Chair Eric Cooley, these were good problems to have. It was prime beach weather and seemingly half the town came out to witness Hang 8. For all the challenges involved, things were an unequivocal success.
“It’s probably a lot more than last year,” said Cooley in what was likely a significant understatement. “I think we already broke last year’s [number] by more than double.” For Cooley, both an elected official in Flagler Beach and a small business owner, having an annual event that regularly exceeds expectations will pay dividends for stakeholders of the community. His own 7-Eleven business, located just next to the event on A1A, was packed with patrons throughout the morning and afternoon. Many other businesses nearby seemingly were as well.
“I feel like the event is more organized this year,” said Johnston. “Last year Eric and I had no idea what to expect. We thought we would have about fifty people turn out with five dogs, and it just blew our expectations. So this year we were just more prepared and organized, so we’ve been able to enjoy the contest more this year.” Johnston went on to estimate that between 500 and 1,000 people attended the event Saturday, but the true number was likely substantially higher.
Beyond just the impact on the local economy, all proceeds from Hang 8 went to good causes. K9s for Warriors, the Flagler Humane Society, and SMART of Flagler County, each pet-based charities and nonprofits, were each benefited by the money raised throughout the event.
- Reef & JJ Crane
- Wednesday & Jimmy Britton
- Roxie & Bryson Willims
- Charlie Brown
- Honorable Mention – Official Willy Good Dog
- Honorable Mention – Venus
- Natty the Baddy (Flagler Pier costume)
- Teddy (Rasta costume)
- Dixie (Scuba costume)
- Honorable Mention – Minus the Three-Legged Dog
- Charlie Brown
Best Dog Kiss:
May 21, 2023 at 5:04 pm
I live here in Palm Coast I have for 25 years with my children my youngest is 30 now five grandkids and my mother and father resided here as well right down the block from Flagler Beach we’ve all basically lived at that beach the Flagler Pier we’re just waiting to see it built up again and I just love seeing that my Shih Tzu recently passed away God bless her and my son’s Chihuahua God bless him otherwise they would have been down there I just love the dog with the Flagler Pier costume that rocks that’s like the best costume I have ever seen that needs to make the local newspapers as well not just you know this part of it I mean it needs to make the news it should be on our news because that’s advertising for our peer and you know our iconic symbol I should say our landmark that’s very well known all over the state. I love this and I’d love to see quite a few of the dogs surf. Looking forward to it and please I hope it is posted on Google with the news because I can’t go I’m laid up because of problems with hip surgery and needing esophagus surgery so I’m very saddened by this that I can’t get up there to go and I just look forward to seeing it thank you and God bless you and you guys kick ass lol. And I love my city and I love my county.
May 21, 2023 at 6:20 pm
A absolutely Wonderful day. Thank you. Fun, Feel Good, Comfortable, Cordial,Friendly and very well organized. Can’t wait to enjoy it again next year.