Dog surfing popularity grows with competitions, accessibility, and media coverage

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The sport of dog surfing has grown considerably in popularity in the past few years due to a growing number of competitions and the national media attention that those events have received.

You read that correctly.  Dog surfing.  As in, dogs riding waves on surf boards.  It almost always involves a dog standing on the board and a human pushing the dog surfer into wave.  As far fetched as it sounds, the sport has grown enough in popularity that there are now several dog surfing competitions.

The largest of the competitions is the Loews Surf Dog Competition, held annually in San Diego.  In 2009, there were hundreds of dog participants and many hundreds, if not thousands, of spectators. Purina’s Incredible Dog Challenge in San Diego included a dog surfing competition this year.  Another competition, the Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, takes place in the fall, also in San Diego.  These events raise money for charities.

These competitions, however obscure sounding, have been featured on local and national media outlets, including NBC’s The Today Show, ESPN, The Baltimore Sun, and The San Diego Union Tribune.

In San Diego, in particular, the spike in popularity has also been helped by the accessibility of dog friendly beaches.  These beaches provide a place to teach dogs to surf, sit and watch other dogs surf, or a place for photographers to capture great dog surfing images.  These beaches include North Beach at Del Mar, Imperial Beach, and Dog Beach in Ocean Beach.

A growing number of great dog surfing photos and videos can be found online.  There is even a book, The Dog’s Guide to Surfing: Hanging Ten with Man’s Best Friend, as well as a popular calendar featuring San Diego dogs surfing every month.

If you have a dog and surfboard, give it a shot.  Dog surfing is a fun way to spend an afternoon at the beach, and does not require big waves.  Just an eager dog.

Plenty of dog surfing information, including locations, instructions, photos, videos and competition information, can be found at San Diego Dog Surfing.
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