These dogs shred, riding waves, wiping out in Surf City Surf Dog competition

It was a hot-doggin’ good time Sunday in Huntington Beach, where pooches got to show off their surfing skills as they rode waves and wiped out in front of big crowds that gathered nd to cheer them on.

The seventh annual Surf City Surf Dog competition brought 64 surfing canines and their owners to Dog Beach, capping three days of events to raise funds for five dog-centric charities. There was a red carpet event with “puparazzi,” a costume contest and an International Surf Dog Walk of Fame that recognized three standout surfing dogs.

“What’s not to love about dogs surfing? It’s growing: Every year there’s more dogs learning to do it,” said event producer Lisa Scolman, who said the number of surfing dogs at the event has doubled since its inception.

Waves were generally mellow for the dogs, although during the morning heats the tide was high and a pounding shorebreak sent the pups flying, their boards popping out from under them. Huntington Beach junior lifeguards helped retrieve the pups as they scrambled to get back to their owners.

Scolman said surfing isn’t for every dog, and owners shouldn’t force them to surf.

“You can see when it is in the eyes and the faces of the dogs that loves it, and they bark to get back out there,” she said.

That was the case for Cherie, a French bulldog who caught wave after wave during her heat, including one smooth ride that lasted all the way to the sand.

After each ride, she turned back toward the ocean and dog-paddled to find her owner.

“It’s a really cool bonding experience for both of us,” said Cherie’s owner, Dan Nykolayko, 36, of Newport Beach. “In the time we’ve been doing this, I feel like we’ve grown a lot closer.”

It’s rare for French bulldogs to like the water, Nykolayko said. He discovered Cherie’s love for the ocean when he took her to the beach three years ago and she started chasing big dogs into the water. A friend showed him a flier for dog surfing lessons. His initial thought: “That’s the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard.”

After one lesson, though, Cherie was hooked. Now, their days are spent at the beach catching waves.

Well, that’s the case for Cherie, at least. Nykolayko doesn’t surf.

“Maybe I’ll end up on a board one day, so we can have something in common,” he said.

Kaylee, a Dalmatian from Temecula, is no stranger to the dog surfing circuit, hitting four events each year. She’s been competing three years, and recently started teaching other dogs how to surf.

“We get to know a lot of the dogs,” said her owner, Scott Owen. “It’s a blast to see this many people come out for the camaraderie, especially among the dog people. We have a great time.”

Giselle, a mutt rescue from Pomona, is a newbie to the dog surf scene, taking up the sport just two months ago.

But the pink tu-tu-wearing pup surfed like a pro, able to maintain her balance to ride to shore with her paws clinging onto her board as another dog collided with her in the whitewash.

“She’s feisty,” said her owner, Susan Gan.

Gan hopes Giselle can help other rescue dogs, and plans on starting a website for her.

“I’m hoping this is a platform we can use to raise money, especially for medical care,” she said.

Contact the writer:

Leave a Reply