8 Incredible Surfing Dogs
Can your dog catch more than a tennis ball? How about a wave?
I love going to the beach and getting out in the waves. I learned to body surf from a very early age in Australia where I grew up. I also used a board and let me tell you, it is really tough to stand up. Surfing is an exciting workout. You get the benefits of swimming plus it is great for balance and strengthening one’s core. However, it can also be dangerous, especially if you wipe out or get caught in a rip. I have seen a few friends and tourists get into trouble or get injured on the Sydney beaches. It is really important to manage the risks- see a few tips below.
We were amazed by this video of dogs riding waves at the annual 10th iteration of the Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition last Saturday with more than 50 dogs at Imperial Beach in San Diego, California. Each of the competitors is judged on their skills, the duration of their ride and their confidence while riding.
8 Incredible Surf Dogs Catching Waves
Ziggy, winner for the Small Dog category in Petco’s Competition is a Toy American Eskimo weighing in at only 15 pounds.
In second place for the small dog category this year was our adorable pal Coppertone. Coppertone hit the world like a “Tidal Wave”. Born and raised in Sunny California she has surfed since a young pup. She was believed to be the first Dachshund in history to become a champion surfer after winning Best “GROMUTT” of 2014. See her on Facebook as well as more photos and videos in our Talent Hounds Gallery of Stars.
Surf Dog Ricochet is a world famous celebrity & champion surf dog. But she surfs with purpose. As a SURFice dog® she continues her therapy, healing and service work in the water. She helps others by raising funds and awareness for human/animal causes. Thanks to Ricochet. She has brought smiles and happiness to many plus raised almost $400,000, and 1 million bowls of food so far!
Another golden retriever who makes a slash is Kalani or ‘Lil Surfer Girl’. She won this years Petco competition for the large dog category.
Our blogger pal Sugar from Golden Woofs attended this year’s event where she met Kalani, full story HERE
Hanzo, the X-Large boxer started skateboarding when he was only 8 weeks old and now he loves to surf. He and Kalani won for Tandem Surfing and he took the prize for the extra large category.
Who can resist Tillman the Bulldog, also known for his skateboarding tricks. After mastering the board on land Tillman took up surfing to cool off. Here he is winning first place at the Loews Coronado Bay Dog Surf Competition.
Abbie Girl is an Australian Kelpie who surfs to promote bonding with your dog through sports. She won for the medium category in Petco’s competition.
Mr. Tuff , is one of the only “Surfing Chihuahuas” and is believed to be the “Smallest” dog to ever compete in Surf Dog competition! We also love his beach style.
Don’t miss the 7th Annual Unleashed By Petco Surf City Surf Dog Competition inHuntinton Beach, CA this September 25-27th! More Info HERE
Try Surfing With Your Dog!
If you and your dog are confident swimmers, you live near the beach and you love the surf, maybe you want to share this with your dog.
Many dogs love to swim, but not all. Kilo the Pug does not like getting wet and I would not attempt surfing with him. He and other squishy face barrel-chested breeds may have trouble with buoyancy and also breathing if they inhale water. I am going to try him on a little skateboard as he does have great balance.
Teach your dog to swim in calm water and use a life-jacket. If they show they like swimming and you want to try the surf beach, get your dog used to waves first by taking them out slowly in very small waves, or try throwing the ball for them. Make sure your dog is very comfortable and confident in waves before attempting surfing.
We are not experts and it is a good idea to get expert help and follow safety tips.
Tips For Hitting the Waves
Respect the Ocean and Keep Safe
If you plan to go out surfing with or without your dog, you should always
- watch for currents
- be careful of sudden drop-offs, sandbars or rocks/reefs,
- avoid dumping dangerous waves (a friend of mine got dumped into a sand bar and hurt his neck),
- look for safety signs and swim where there are lifeguards on duty.
Fresh Water VS. Salt Water
Be sure to have plenty of fresh water available for your and your dog on the beach. Your pooch may be tempted to drink the sea water which can dehydrate your dog and cause diarrhea or worse. Take breaks often and don’t allow them to be in the water for long periods of time.
Wear A Life Vest
Safety First Make sure you are a confident swimmer and surfer yourself before going out with your dog. Even if your dog is a confident Olympic level swimmer, always use a life vest that fits your dog correctly and only enter the water if you are both completely comfortable in the conditions.
Choose The Right Foam Board
Only use soft-top or foam boards or special doggy surfboards for dog surfing. Boogie boards apparently work well for very small dogs. The soft boards also your dog to grip easier and they are lighter in case your dog gets knocked by it in the water. Most surf shops also let you rent boards for the day, just make sure your dog doesn’t damage it.
Pro Tip: The longer the board the easier it is to balance! Check Out Active.com’s Choosing the Right Surfboard
Train On Land and then in a Pool or Tub First
You want to get your dog used to being on a surfboard before entering the water. Practice on sand or at home first using positive reinforcement training. Use high value (and healthy) treats to reward your dog while it’s on the board. Once they are comfortable jumping, walking, and laying on it and try it in shallow water to let them see that it is safe to stand on.
Many surf dog stars begin training when they are puppies! Sandra Lew, Surf Champ Kalani’s mom taught her how to balance in a little pool when she was only eight months old on a boogie board. Ricochet’s Mom Judy also taught her in a pool when she was a brave little puppy.
Time To Hit The Water
Now that you and your dog are ready to test the waters, remember to take it slow! Start off very shallow water, practicing finding balance on the board and falling off.
When you are ready to go a little bit deeper (but still where you can stand easily), have your dog stand near the back of the board. Hold the tail end of the board (back) and place one hand under you dogs stomach to help support. This position allows you to guide the board. As waves approach turn the board and let your dog ride the wave to shore. Ideally have friends and/or experts with you to help catch the board or in case of a problem.
Remember this should be FUN! Use lots of encouragement and praise. If you have tried it yourself, you will know that it will take a bit of time for your dog to figure it all out, so be patient. Do not force them if they are not enjoying it.