Dogs surfing! Competitions held in San Diego and Huntington Beach

Narrated from: Dog Sports

Have you ever dreamt of riding the waves on a surfboard, of traveling on the crest of a wave, or mocking the ever hungry maw of the sea? Probably – but surfing can also be dangerous, so you’ve probably never even considered trying it.

Well, think again – now even dogs are doing it!

Your canine can fulfill your dream – with the right training of course.

In fact, dog surfing has been a rather popular sport for some years now.

Many dogs surf regularly with their owners, while others only have the opportunity to saddle a wave during the holidays. However, there are dogs that are so proficient at surfing that they enter competitions!

Well, doggy competitions of course – and there are surprisingly many dog surfing gatherings! The most notable of these is the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon. This competition started way back in 2006, and has been held for six years in a row now!

The Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon is based in San Diego, California. It was started mainly for fun, as dog owners wanted to surf with their pets. However, the competition has evolved since then, adapting a complicated rating criteria and attracting more and more spectators. More than 4 000 people gather every year to witness the event, and money is raised for local animal shelter centers. Last year, more than $100 000 was amassed for the no-kill Helen Woodward Animal Center.

The winner of the competition is determined by a jury of non-canine judges. There are several criteria that are observed - the length of the ride, the size of the wave ridden and their on-board maneuvers. While many dogs feel much more comfortable riding with their owner, real pros surf solo – and get bonus points for that! Also, riding the surfboard on all fours is better than lying flat on your belly.

Of course, all precautions are taken to ensure the dogs’ safety – each contestant has a life jacket, and only proficient swimmers are allowed to surf alone – and can swim to the shore with ease even if they suffer the disgrace of falling off the surfboard.

In 2011, more than 80 pooches tried their luck, and the event was won by a Jack Russell Terrier. This breed seems to be particularly well suited for surfing, along with Labradors, Boxers and Bulldogs – but basically, any dog can have a try at surfing!

Similar competitions are held in many places – as long as there are waves of course! One of the more recent events was held at Huntington Beach – the Surf City Surf Dog event. This competition will be held again this year, at the end of September.

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