Cowabunga Puppy! – The Sport of Dog Surfing

Surfing Dogs

There is a new dog sport sweeping the nation – it is called dog surfing.  Just like normal surfing it involves surfboards and life jackets, but also some very talented dogs!

Dog surfing is pretty much identical to human surfing.  The dogs are trained to surf on surfboards or body boards and they go out in the ocean and ride a gnarly wave into shore.  Some dogs like to have their own board, while others like to have a human surfing along with them.

Surfing DogsDogs of almost every breed and size can participate in dog surfing with their owners and there doesn’t seem to be a certain dog breed that is better than others.  Even though any dog can do it, it does seem easier for stockier dogs (like a bulldog) to learn to balance and stay on the board.  There are also competitions where your pup can win trophies and cash prizes!

I recently attended the American Family Pet Expo and spent the day at the Lucy Pet Foundation booth which included a surfing wave machine with some of the country’s top surfing dogs and their owners.  I quickly learned each dog had their own surfing “style” from sitting on the board, laying down, to even riding with another doggie friend. One pup I saw starts off facing backwards and then does a 180-degree turn once he lands a wave.

The dog’s owners were so welcoming to this non-surfing reporter and all my questions. One question I asked several of them was how they discovered the sport.  For some, their whole family loves to surf so it was only natural for the dogs to jump on a board while at the beach.  For others, it took some encouragement from a dog trainer or a friend that saw their pup’s natural talent.

These pups don’t just surf because their owners push them to get on a board.  I believe these dogs truly LOVE surfing.  As soon as some of these dogs saw a surfboard they went CRAZY with their tails started wagging.  Some would start barking and others would even run over to their life jackets as if they were saying – I’m ready to surf!  Lets Go!

Surfing CatApparently it isn’t just humans and dogs that hang ten.  I was able to watch a cat (Ricky) learning how to surf.  Ricky is in training to surf in the Rose Bowl parade on a float at the end of the year.  The cat wasn’t thrilled to be in the water at first, but he quickly figured out he would stay dry if he sat in the middle of the board.  He also didn’t seem to mind floating in the pool while eating the treats the trainer gave him.  I think he will have a way to go before he is ready to catch a big wave, but I can’t wait to see him on TV in January.

If you want to try out dog surfing with your pup, the first thing you need to do is buy them a dog life jacket for their safety.  Also, take your time getting your dog used to the board, waves, and riding the board into shore.  Just like it takes humans a while to learn how to surf, the same goes for dogs too.  Finally, if your dog would rather keep his feet planted on solid ground, don’t force him.  Surfing isn’t for every pup.  Some dogs would rather just get some sun on the beach instead!

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