Surf’s up in Southern California—and now, during the summer vacation season, you and your pup can get your smiles on watching surf dogs ride the waves all along the coast, including competitions in Huntington Beach, Imperial Beach and Del Mar. If seeing other dogs shred the waves makes you think, “Hey, my dog could do that,” it’s easy to find out, just treat the two of you to a lesson!
The Helen Woodward Animal Center (HWAC) in Rancho Santa Fe is partnering with SoCal Surf Dogs to offer dog surfing clinics. Also, fifty-minute lessons are held on Dog Beach in Del Mar and include board, life vest and instruction for $45. Don’t expect your pooch to be hanging paws after a single lesson; the idea is to discover if the two of you have an aptitude for the sport. But, keep practicing and you may be ready to compete in HWAC’s Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, an event that raises funds and awareness for orphaned pets.
Summer’s biggest event in the dog-surfing world splashes into Imperial Beach when about 50 dogs are expected to woof it up in the Unleashed by Petco Surf Dogs Competition. This event offers great spectator opportunities along with a dog wash, a beginner agility course, dog adoptions and a full agenda of family-friendly activities.
The season continues with three days of doggone fun in Huntington Beach (a.k.a. “Surf City U.S.A.”), when the Surf City Surf Dog competition takes over the southern end of mile-long, leash-free Dog Beach. Festivities also include an opening yappy hour, a dog fashion contest, a free class in dog-and-owner yoga and a two-day Eukanuba Expo.
Meanwhile, if you’re inspired to teach your dog to surf, you’ll find plenty of free advice floating around the Internet. Surf Dog Ricochet, a website devoted to the celebrity surf dog of the same name, offers a “teach your dog to surf” lesson plan complete with instructional videos and a list of organizations that offer surf-dog lessons. (Tip: teaching your dog to surf starts in your living room, and you don’t even need a surfboard to get going.) SoCal Surf Dogs offers more videos and training advice—and of course, you’ll find hours’ worth of surf-dog entertainment on YouTube.