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Dogs Hit the Waves in San Diego for Annual Surfing Competition

On Saturday, dogs and their owners came out to Imperial Beach in San Diego for the 10th annual Unleashed by Petco Dog Surf Competition.

Chris Hall  |  Aug 4th 2015


I grew up in Southern California before the Internet, so surfing was a Big Thing. For other people, anyway; I was a book nerd who spent all my time reading science fiction and comic books, dreaming of a day when every home would have robot butlers and we’d live on Jupiter.

But even for someone who abstained from surfing culture like me, it was kind of unavoidable. Surfing was in the fashions, the music, and the language of Southern California. You can probably still hear it when I speak.

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Surf’s up! (Photo courtesy Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition)

But despite the pervasiveness of surfing when I grew up, I knew of relatively few surfing dogs outside of the movies. For those who, like me, missed out on the coolness that is a dog hanging twenty on a surfboard, this last weekend provided plenty of opportunity. On Imperial Beach in San Diego Saturday, dogs hit the waves for the Tenth Annual Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition, showing that they could ride a board just as well as Gidget, Keanu Reeves, or any of the kids from my neighborhood.

Professional surfer Taylor Knox lent his expertise as judge.

Professional surfer Taylor Knox lent his expertise as judge. (Photo courtesy Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition)

The event was judged this year by champion surfer Taylor Knox, but it was more than an opportunity for the dogs to show off their chops and get some doggie treats. The proceeds go to help support the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA.

More than 50 dogs showed up, but at the end of the day, one of the biggest stars was Ziggy, a Toy American Eskimo who retained his crown from last year in the Small Dog category. A Golden Retriever named Kalani won the Large Dog category and shared the Tandem Surfing prize with a Boxer named Hanzo.

The winners and their parents celebrate.

The winners and their parents celebrate. (Photo courtesy Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition)

As you can see from these pictures, though, even the dogs who didn’t make it to the winner’s circle seem to be having a lot of fun, and thanks to the donations to the Humane Society and SPCA, more dogs will have chances at good homes. Maybe they’ll even wind up in next year’s competition.

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Hang on! (Photo courtesy Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition)

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Good try! (Photo courtesy Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition)

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Tutus are a must when surfing. (Photo courtesy Unleashed by Petco Surf Dog Competition)

Read more about dogs at Dogster: