Laid-back pooches and their owners took to the waves on 27 September for the seventh annual Surf City Surf Dog surfing competition at Huntington Dog Beach, just outside of Los Angeles, California. The dogs competed in four weight-class divisions and were judged on a variety of skills, including the length of their ride and their confidence on the board. Boxer Hanzo, a veteran surfer in his seventh season competing, was a crowd favourite.
"That was a really fun, fun ride today. Really exciting to see the crowd get behind Hanzo. We had a really good time out there," said owner Eric Felland.
Shasta, a Shar Pei/Husky mix, was competing for the third time. Her owner Cathy Lawrence, said she could tell Shasta was enjoying herself. "I can tell from her because she just loves doing just about anything. Some dogs you can tell, you know, they're tense and they jump off immediately or they just don't want to get back on the board, but, you know, you can tell if they turn right around and go back on the board, they're enjoying themselves or they're comfortable with it," she said.
Several of the owners worked with trainers and surfers to get their dogs competition-ready. James Wall, owner of American Pitbull Terrier Faith, said the training process was a slow and steady one. "First the dog has to love the water, that's one of the biggest things, and then balance. There's various ways you can train the dog on balance. What we did was we took her to the bay area where it's calm water, put her on a board, got her used to the balance and slowly progressed into waves. And here she is now," he said.
The event is part of the Double Dog Dare Surf Series, which includes August's dog surfing competition at Imperial Beach in San Diego.