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Surf City Surf Dogs Catch the Waves

Sunday 14 May 2017

Dogs are like people in some respects.  Many are homebodies and prefer their creature comforts.  Others prefer to be a little more adventurous. Although not a species renowned for its participation in extreme sports there is a cross section of the canine community which likes nothing better than to take to the waves – on surf boards.

Now in its fifth year the Surf City Surf Dog event, held in Huntington Beach, California brings together over forty surf fans together with their human companions who are there to ensure that all the fun is safe for the surfer dogs.  This fund-raising event helps to raise awareness of various dog related causes, including animal rescue and medical care.

Although encouragement is sometimes given most of the dogs take to the waves like naturals and are obviously in their element when they are on a surfboard.  There are a number of categories in which the dogs compete.  Four weight categories allow dogs under 20 pounds to participate and other groupings mean that even dogs over 60 pounds can take part.  Even if they don’t win, each dog gets a paw-ticipation medal.

Preparation is vital in any competition and in the months running up to the event the organizers offer training sessions for dogs and their human companions.  The coaches are hired on two grounds – they must be qualified instructors and dog lovers in to the bargain.

For those who prefer to work together there are a further two categories – one which involves a dog and a human working together and another which allows two dogs to surf together in tandem.  Although the surf conditions can be quite, well, ruff, there are always people around to provide help should any of the participants find themselves in distress. In fact it is  – such paws-itively good fun that  most of the time, keeping the dogs out of the water is the issue!

However, entry in to the sea is sometimes not as graceful as one would like...

It is sometimes difficult to retain your cool when you're soaking wet.  There comes a point when you need a break.

When you've had your fun, there's always a blanket on hand so you can watch the rest of the participants have their go. Or you can just snuggle up with your human.

However, the real fun is out there on the surf and there is always the odd world record to break.  Last year a world record was broken - 17 dogs surfing at the same time.

Keeping 17 dogs together on land is hard enough. On a surfboard? Well, the inevitable is going to happen, isn't it?

There is an entry fee for the participants but a portion of the money goes towards one of the event’s official charity sponsors.  They include the Huntington Dog Beach organization which maintains a one-mile stretch of golden sands in Southern California where dogs can run, swim, and play to their hearts’ content! 

The dogs all have their own custom made wetsuits which really makes them look the part. All of this is, of course, caught by the pup-arazzi, who know just how to capture the dogs in their element!

The Ark in Space would like to thank Flickr Photographer San Diego Shooter for making these pictures available under a Creative Commons license. Please visit his wonderful Photostream.

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