It’s surfs up in Pacifica this weekend for some awe-inspiring canines and their two-legged owners.
The second annual World Dog Surfing Championship will enliven Linda Mar Beach Saturday as the playful pets show they’re more than man’s best friend.
Whether they’re shredding waves alone or riding tandem with their human counterparts, dogs of all shapes and sizes will be hanging 10 and having fun.
Santa Cruz duo Homer Henard and Skyler, his 6-year-old his Queensland Heeler, are looking forward to wowing crowds at this year’s fundraiser.
“People get so excited it’s crazy. They just love it. It’s cool, the energy you get from making people happy,” said 42-year-old Henard, a self-described surf addict.
Wagging tails and boisterous barks are also expected and one of Henard’s favorite parts of dog surf competitions is getting Skyler together with her canine comrades.
Recalling a recent dog surf event at Huntington Beach, Henard said it was incredible to see how chill the playful pups were around each other.
“We’re excited for [this weekend’s] event, it should be pretty cool. I’m stoked a lot of other surf dogs from down in San Diego and all over come to the event. It’s cool when all the surf dogs get together,” Henard said. “It’s like they all know they’re connected through surfing.”
The event organized by TasteTV and its founder A.K. Crump has grown to become a crowd favorite because, let’s face it, who wouldn’t be mesmerized by watching dogs surf?
“It’s an image that really blows their mind because they never thought it could be done, and in fact never even thought about it,” Crump said in an email. “Surfing can be considered a challenge, but to see dogs hang 20 so well makes them rethink the sport. Plus, it’s just fun to watch and cheer them on.”
The one-day event will spotlight more than just the impressive surf pups, their owners will have a chance to strut their stuff as well. Broken into size categories, dogs will surf from 10 a.m. to noon, immediately followed by a one-hour human solo surfing set. A costume contest featuring dogs and humans starts at noon and should produce some bellyaching laughs.
For those not ready to brave the break, there will also bee a dog Frisbee catching contest and fetch competition. The event also includes a pet wellness fair and mobile pet adoption. The event is free to attend with a small fee for contest participants. Proceeds go toward the Peninsula Humane Society and Rocket Dog Rescue, according to TasteTV.
Having initially began the contest in San Diego, Crump said NorCal’s Pacifica is “a great place for the event because people in general love dogs, they love helping charities, they love the outdoors and we have great surfing conditions here.”
Surfing can be a great way for people to bond and exercise with their canine companions. Henard’s suggestions for anyone looking to get started are to begin slow, and make sure the owner is comfortable in the ocean and familiar with surfing.
But, it ultimately comes down to whether it’s in their blood.
“You’re dog is either into it, or isn’t. That’s the bottom line,” he said. “If you’re dog’s into it, than it could be a cool rad thing to share.”
Skyler, a breed of cattle dog, surprised her human handler when Henard headed to a local harbor to go stand-up paddleboarding a few years ago. Having had Skyler since she was a pup, she’d always been a close companion and that day she eagerly hopped aboard, he said. After realizing she had impressive balance, Henard decided to see if she might enjoy a few waves.
Now, she’s better behaved when he’s got his surfboard in tow then having her on a leash, Henard said.
“It’s like her job, she’s a cattle dog so that’s like her job going surfing with me. She doesn’t like the water or swimming, and if I turn on the hose she’ll run. But when I throw my board in the water, she jumps right on and is ready to go!” Henard said. “I got real lucky. … I’m an avid surfer, my whole life. And it’s cool to share that with her.”
The dynamic duo has become quite popular at their local surf breaks where Skyler rides some impressive waves. Typically, they ride tandem with Henard paddling and steering while Skyler excitedly hangs 10 at the nose of the board. A few seasons under her belt, Skyler sometimes mimics paddling on her own, he laughed.
Although they normally ride tandem, Skyler is warming up to her solo rides and Henard said he’s looking forward to her performance this weekend. A former pro surfer himself, Henard said paddling out with Skyler offers a great chance for them both to get a little exercise.
With a new board and Skyler’s life vest — a must for doggy daredevils — ready to go, Henard said he’s hopeful she’ll take home some bragging rights this weekend. But even if she doesn’t, that won’t really change his opinion of his best bud.
“She’s top dog in my book,” Henard said.
The World Surf Dog Championship is Saturday, Aug. 5, at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica. Visit surfdogchampionships.com for more information.
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