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California Dogs Riding The Waves


Some people enjoy the water sport of surfing.

Many others enjoy watching those surfers riding the waves.

And still others enjoy watching when dogs ride the waves.

Dogs?

Last weekend, groups of surfers and their dogs took to the waves in the seventh “Surf City Surf Dog” competition. It took place at Huntington Dog Beach, a short drive from Los Angeles, California.

Many of the dogs surfed like experts, facing both forward and backward. Some fell off their surfboards and into the ocean. But for most at the annual competition, it was all fun and play.

A boxer named Hanzo was a crowd favorite. He has competed in the surfing competition in each of the past seven years. Eric Felland is Hanzo’s owner.

"That was a really fun, fun ride today. Really exciting to see the crowd get behind Hanzo."

The dogs competed in four weight-class divisions. They were judged on different skills, including the length of their ride and their confidence on the surfboard. Some dogs appeared very sure in their ability to succeed. Others did not.

A canine competitor at the 7th annual Surf City Surf Dog competition in Huntington Beach, California, Sept. 27, 2015. (Courtesy: Dominique Labrecque)

A canine competitor at the 7th annual Surf City Surf Dog competition in Huntington Beach, California, Sept. 27, 2015. (Courtesy: Dominique Labrecque)

​James Wall owns Faith, an American Pitbull Terrier. He says there are two important requirements for dog surfing.

"First the dog has to love the water, that's one of the biggest things, and then balance. There's various ways you can train the dog on balance. What we did was we took her to the bay area where it's calm water, put her on a board, got her used to the balance and slowly progressed into waves. And here she is now."

A Pitbull/American Bulldog mix named Copper competed in the surfing contest for the first time. John Daly is Copper’s owner.

"This is his first competition, but he really likes it, so we're hoping just to kind of learn and keep coming."

In the end, some dog surfers left with medals. But in the eyes of their owners, all of the dogs were winners.

I’m Jonathan Evans.

VOA’s Julie Taboh reported on this story from Washington. Jonathan Evans adapted for Learning English. George Grow was the editor.

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Words in This Story

annual adj. happening once a year

confidence n. a feeling or belief that you can do something well or succeed at something

contest – n. competition

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