Surfing Dogs Hang 20 at California World Championships

Posted by Amber King
dog surfing competition
Facebook/Paul Chin

Thousands of people and dozens of dogs lined the California shoreline for the 2nd Annual World Dog Surfing Championships.

When it comes to canine competitions, there's nothing quite like dog surfing. Instead of purebreds prancing in a ring or labs jumping off docks, the World Dog Surfing Championship in Pacifica, California includes dogs of all sizes and breeds catching waves.

For anyone who has never seen a dog surfing event, it's exactly what it sounds like. Adventure-seeking pups don their life jackets and jump on their boards in search of the perfect wave.

Great form @surfdogturbo ! . . Source @surfdogturbo ・・・ TBT to the @Purina @proplan Incredible Dog Challenge and looking forward to another next week (June 9) at #huntingtonbeach ❗️I can't wait to surf with my #surfdog buddies🐾 and see them strut their 🏄 stuff! Photo by (and big thanks to) Diane Edmonds, at 😍I think this is the pic she posted on @surfline 🌊 a few years ago. 😘And big thanks to my Dad--that's him losing his cap putting me in that wave🤣#tbt #pppidc #purinaproplanincredibledogchallenge #turbocharged #surf #waterbaby #hineyintheair #likewejustdontcare #beachboy #goldenretriever #goldenlife #sandiegodog #dogsofsandiego #dogsofig #californiadogs #livinthedream 😎 #surfer #surfing #surfdogs #dogs #dogsurfing

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The August 5th competition at Linda Mar Beach, in Northern California near San Francisco, was free for spectators and featured the best canine surfing talent in the country. Three dozen dogs were entered in the contest and judged based on three categories. The biggest scoring factor was how long the four-legged surfer stayed on the board. The best rides saw the surfing dogs sail smoothly all the way to the sand. Next, judges looked at the dog's confidence and attitude. One of the judges, Sam Stahl, told NPR:

"No one wants to see a dog terrified at the end of a surfboard."

The last thing judges consider in a surf dog competition is wave choice. The human component in the dog surfing spectacle needs to be able to choose the best waves that aren't too big or too small. When all goes according to plan, the dog's owner pushes the board into the wave and lets their four-legged partner handle the rest.

On the sand, dogs sniffed out the competition while they waited for their turn in the water. There were dogs wearing wet suits and dogs with mohawks, but everyone's eyes were glued to the competition.

Highlights from the day saw a Spaniel named Sampson wipe out on his first attempt only to redeem himself with an impressive score of a 9.3 on his second wave. Two competitors going after the same wave later decided to work together with an unexpected tandem ride to shore.

While the competition was fierce, one incredible dog stood out from the pack. Abbie, a rescue Australian Kelpie, is as close to a professional dog surfer as she can get. Found on the side of the road by Humane Society Silicon Valley, Abbie was later adopted by Michael Uy. The pair has competed in all the top dog surfing competitions, and for the second year in a row, Abbie was named top surf dog. Her obvious confidence and fancy footwork on her custom board earned herself another trophy to add to her collection and a bottle of wine for her helpful human assistant.

Follow World Dog Surfing on Instagram for more of the action and to plan for next year's world championship in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What do you think of dog surfing? Let us know in the comments below. 

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Surfing Dogs Hang 20 at California World Championships