Surfing dogs hit the waves in style at the World Dog Surfing Championships

Surfing dogs hit the waves in style at the World Dog Surfing Championships
(Image credit: World Dog Surfing Championships)

From Spaniels on surfboards to bodyboardin’ Beagles, the World Dog Surfing Championships is a mecca for surfing dogs everywhere. If your pooch can pick a peak or your doggo’s dexterous on the deck, then he’ll be right at home at the world’s premier dog surfing event.

Open to courageous canines and their pet humans, the event, held annually in late summer since 2016, invites contestants to get their paws wet and join in the fun.

World Dog Surfing Championships

(Image credit: Jack Owicki / World Dog Surfing Championships)

Hundreds of dogs of all shapes, breeds and sizes converged on the San Francisco Bay area earlier this month to show off their skills. 

Wearing wetsuits, GoPros, lifevests and doggles, the canine contestants hung ten, doggy paddled and generally had a pawsome time.

If you’re wondering if your pooch would love surfing, he does need to love the water to enjoy it. As long as your pooch is fit, healthy, checked regularly by a veterinarian, isn’t scared of water and is wearing a lifejacket though, it’s a great opportunity for dogs to try something new with their humans.

According to Betsy McFarland, who has 25 years of experience in animal protection, including 18 years at The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) where she served as vice president of the Companion Animals section, surfing with your doggo could be a very good thing if you take proper safety precautions.

Any breed of dog can learn to surf, although chunkier breeds like Bulldogs may prefer to lie down for balance! If your pooch isn’t a water dog, though, he’s unlikely to love the sport and would be happier staying on the beach.

Overall champion this year was surf dude Skyler from Santa Cruz, who along with owner Homer Henard is a veteran of the waves.

Australian Cattle Dog Skyler, who has her own Instagram at @skylerthesurfingdog, has a busy life – as well as being a therapy dog for veterans she also volunteers at the Waves of Impact surf camps for children with special needs.

Skyler swept the board, taking first place in the medium dog solo and dog/human tandem classes.

She also took second place in the dog/dog tandem with Bulldog bro Rothstein, as well as first place overall in the solo classes and the championship, winning the coveted Golden Surfie award. Pawsome work, Skyler!

As well as being a great day out, the championships help to raise money for animal-related non-profits and shelters.

If you couldn’t make it to ‘Frisco this year for the live action, you and your pooch can enter the annual virtual Best Waves competition on October 1 2022 – you’ll just need a photo or video of your canine cresting the wave. Surf’s up, dawg!

Sara Walker

Sara is a freelance journalist and copywriter of many years’ experience with a lifelong love of animals. She’s written for a range of magazines and websites on subjects varying from pet care to travel. A horse rider since the age of five, she’s currently a full time pet slave to horse Blue and gorgeous, goofy English Springer Spaniel Olly. Adorable Olly has a huge sense of adventure and no sense of direction, keeping Sara on her toes.