More than 50 daring dogs took to the waves last weekend (June 16) for the annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition on Imperial Beach, San Diego, CA and even managed to break some world records to boot (pictured in preparation above). Now in its' seventh year, this paw-pular event, watched by thousands of spectators from across the country and reported by media all over the world, gives each competing pooch or team 10-minutes to catch his or her top two waves and each entrant is scored on confidence levels, length of ride and overall ability to “grip it and rip it.”
Winners included Abbie Girl, an Australian Kelpie in the small dogs heat, Ricochet, a Golden Retriever in the large dog heat (pictured above eyeing up the waves in her doggy-shades) and Zoey, a Jack Russell Terrier, who won the tandem heat with her owners Scott & Tyler Chandler. Aside from the regular competition, hosted to support the ASPCA® (the US equivalent of the RSPCA), this year's event saw the daring dogs and in some case - their owners - break three Guinness Book of World Records including ‘Most amount of dogs surfing on one board at one time with a human’ – pictured below.
Check out footage of some of the surfing dogs in action …
Should you and your dog be feeling inspired by your American counterparts don’t be put off by thinking that surfing is only for the sunny beaches of California and Oz. There is actually a substantial surfing community in this country including Devon, Cornwall, Bournemouth, Wales and even unlikely locations like Nottingham and Durham. Surfing is great for your dog’s balance and strength so we’ve got some steers to get your doggy paddling in the right direction.
If your dog’s only contact with water to date has been his bath then you might want to try getting them used to the waves first before attempting to pop them on a board. Take things slow with a simple game of fetch in the direction of the water. Once they’ve got their water wings there are a few things to consider…
Have plenty of fresh water to hand and don’t let them stay in the water for long periods of time – salt water is dehydrating and can cause your dog to get a sore tum if you are not careful.
Play it safe with a Dog Life Jacket, as even the toughest of dogs can get caught out in strong currents. We found some pretty cool ones while ‘surfing’ the net – the EzyDog Life Jacket from Just The Dog - a highly durable doggy life jacket made to the same standards as human life jackets. Available in extra small (£28.49) through to extra large (£43.79) plus P&P, get your dog his or hers in a choice of red, yellow, khaki camouflage or pink camo.
Get boarded up! Soft-top, foam boards are best as they are easier for the dog to grip and it won’t hurt as much if they get hit. Long boards are good to start with as they are easier to balance on but as your pooch turns pro – switch to a boogie board if you have a small dog. It’s also a good idea to get the dog used to the board on dry land first before taking to the waves. Try things like serving their food from it and encourage them to sit, jump or lie on the board – rewarding them with a treat when they do so.
Take to the water! When you feel like your dog is used to the board, it’s a good idea for the two of you to play around in shallow water. Gently push them through the water on the board, letting them find their balance and getting used to falling off – having you there will make them feel safe. Once you can see they are feeling comfortable with their surroundings and the board, push them into a small wave and let them go! After that it’s simply practice make pawfect!
And for those that are keen to perfect their craft, we found a book on Amazon called The Dog's Guide to Surfing: Hanging Ten with Man's Best Friend and we recommend you check out the website of one of this year’s Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Competition winners – Surf Dog Riochet, as she has some step by step videos to mastering the waves.