Surf’s up, dawg! This past weekend at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, California — about a 20-minute drive south of San Francisco — a variety of dogs and their owners gathered for the World Dog Surfing Championships. The organization, billed as “Where the Top Dog Surfers come together” on its Instagram, subscribes to the motto “It’s a big world, let your dog surf it.”
For the annual event, owners often dress their dogs in beach-appropriate fits, including sunglasses, costumes, and doggy-size life jackets. The dogs are judged on some of the same proficiency categories as a human surfing competition, from technique to the length of the ride.
Awards are handed out based on dog size (Small, Medium, Large/XL) as well as other categories, including Human/Dog Tandem. A 10-year-old rescue dog named Faith grabbed the top spot in the Large/XL group, while Skyler, an Australian cattle dog, nabbed first place as the Top Dog Final Overall Champ.
Though dog surfing is said to have started in the 1920s, it was first recorded circa 1932 in the silent film On the Waves at Waikiki, in which a man and his terrier named Night Hawk can be seen riding waves together in Hawaii on a wooden surfboard. The World Dog Surfing Championships has been held on the California coast since 2016, and it is one of several such contests that have been established around the world.
Abbie Girl, an Australian kelpie, set a mark recognized by the Guinness World Records for the longest wave surfed by a dog in open water, catching a 351-foot-8-inch-long wave at Ocean Beach in San Diego, California, on Oct. 18, 2011. Besides surfing, Abbie Girl has gone skydiving with her owner, Michael Uy. Time will only tell if there’s a dog skydiving competition one day.