Following the example of their beach-bound masters, dogs surf for charity all over the world. From California to the United Kingdom, dog surfing is a relatively new trend that provides a great spectator sport while raising money to make a difference in the lives of both people and animals.
Teaching a Dog to Surf?
It may sound crazy, but dog surfing has been around for quite some time. Avid water athletes often bring their best friends to the beach, and while dogs aren't able to dominate as huge of waves as their owners, they are still making quite a splash with the surfing moves they do accomplish. Since so many dogs like to be in the water, surfing is a natural way for an enthusiast to share an important part of his/her life while providing plenty of exercise for the pet.
Since dog surfing has become so popular, it's only natural that they would begin to warrant their own competitions. Today, dogs are surfing for cash, prizes and just the thrill of the sport all across the globe. Also, dogs surf for charity as a way to help their owners be philanthropic and generous with their time and talents.
Starting a New Tradition
Southern California and surfing go hand in hand, which makes it easy to understand why Huntington Beach recently put together one of the best dog surfing competitions on the west coast. The inaugural Surf City Surf Dog took place in October of 2009, and featured dogs from all over the region coming together with their families for a day of food, fun and fundraising. The surf competition included various categories of surf levels and styles, as well as a costume contest and various booths and exhibits.
Surfing clinics were free to all registered pooches, and dogs who were skilled enough to hit the waves without the assistance of an instructor competed in the Saturday main event. Covered by local news stations and publications, the first annual Surf City Surf Dog was a great success, featuring winners in the following categories:
- Groms Small Dog
- Groms Medium Dog
- Groms Large Dog
- Groms Extra Large Dog
Each of these categories included special prizes for the best trick, best wipeout, and biggest crowd pleaser. There were also three costume contest winners.
The proceeds of this event went to benefit various animal-related organizations such as the Orange County Humane Society, Coastal German Shepherd Rescue, and Boxer Rescue of Orange County. In total, the surfing benefitted six different charities.
International Dogs Surf for Charity
Not too far from Huntington Beach, the World Championships of dog surfing takes place in San Diego, CA. Dogs of all sizes, breeds, and "nationalities", compete in this surf contest that benefits the Woodward Animal Center, which uses the funding for educators that go on international trips to shelters and animal rights groups.
While popularity is greatest in California, dogs from England, Australia and other regions of the world are learning to surf and participate in such competitions. As more surfers get their canines on boards, there is a growing level of international appeal for this fun (and adorable) new sport.
No matter where you live, there is a dog surf competition you can join. However, if you live on the West Coast, it is much easier to find one, as this is where the sport is currently most popular.
Just like Surf City Surf Dog, new competitions and charity benefits are being added all of the time, however here is a partial list to get you started: