Canine competitors put all paws on board for a surf contest in California
Forty-six dogs, including this West Highland Terrier, competed at this year’s surfing event. (Lucy Nicholson / Reuters)
Sometimes, California surfer dudes have to make room on the waves for surfer dogs. That happened last week, as 46 canines got to hang 10 at the Surf City Surf Dog competition in Huntington Beach, California. (Actually, they got to hang 20—since that’s how many toes dogs have.)
The competition is held every year to raise money for six animal-related charities. Nearly 1,500 people came to this year’s event to see dogs try out their surfing skills.
Dogs were awarded two points for lying on the board, three points for sitting, and five for standing on all fours. According to the rules, one human handler could ride each surfboard with one dog. In many cases, that was necessary because of three- to four-foot waves and strong currents. But some dogs managed just fine on their own.
“[The waves are] pretty big,” said contest creator Lisa Scolman. “But the dogs are doing amazing. The owners are getting beaten up, but the dogs are having a great time.”
One of the highlights of the event came at midday. Twenty dogs almost set the Guinness World Record for the number of canines riding one wave at a time for five seconds. But the waves were just too strong. Not enough dogs could stay on their boards. Several had to practice their wipeout moves, scurrying to shore. After two failed efforts, the record attempt had to be shelved until next year.
The event organizers also allowed the surfing canines to party at a fancy gala. At Friday’s opening ceremony, dogs participated in a canine-costume competition and an owner look-alike contest. There was even a beach fashion show for dogs.
“It’s just a great way for people with dogs to have a good time together,” said one competitor, Heather McKenny, who brought her bulldog Sir Hollywood. “With all the support of the people who come out—it couldn’t be better.”