Surfing dogs splash to fame in Huntington Beach

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Three dogs share a surfboard at Huntington Beach

Three dogs share a wave at Huntington Beach, Photo by Diane Edmonds, reprinted with permission

It was a photographer’s dream day on the beach as nearly two dozen dogs of every breed and size hopped on surfboards at Huntington Beach, California, and competed to see which would be the next canine version of Duke Paoa Kahanamoku.

“Huntington Beach is the PAWfect venue for the growing sport of dog surfing,” said Lisa Scolman, co-founder of Book That Event, the event organizer. “The city and its eight miles of Pacific coastline are practically synonymous to surfing and the community is one of the dog-friendliest places on the planet.”

With a little help, the dogs climbed on board and headed toward shore. For the judges, distance was key but standing on all fours carried more weight than lying down on the board. And a little showboating – liking riding backward – was worth a few points too.

This was the third annual event, held September 23-25. Pooches were be able to “hang 20” in surfing competitions and strut their stuff in a variety of doggone fun activities and contests throughout the three-day weekend, all while raising funds for animal welfare organizations.

Located in Orange County approximately 35 miles south west of Los Angeles, the City of Huntington Beach is the quintessential Southern California beach town. The city’s coastal waters are legendary for their unique surf break and are the site of many elite surfing tournaments, including the US Open of Surfing, the largest surfing competition in the world.

“It is a badge of honor for man and beast alike to have surfed at Huntington Beach,” says Scolman. “Our goal is to eventually have Surf City Surf Dog be known as the “US Open” of the sport.”

Surf City Surf Dog entrants competed in four weight-class divisions and were judged on a variety of skills, including the duration of their ride and their confidence on the board. Marine conditions such as the size of the wave were also taken into consideration.

On shore, dogs who prefered to keep all four paws on dry land could still strut their stuff by entering the PAWabunga Canine Costume or Owner/Dog Look-a-Like contests and DOGA. The public and their pets also participated at the two-day Hot Diggity Dog Expo that featured more than 40 petrelated vendors and organizations.

More photos from Diane Edmonds:

We haven’t seen a video from the 2011 event yet, but below are some great highlights from 2010:

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