Surfing Dogs: An Instant Conversation

Sep 16, 2013
Originally published on September 14, 2013 5:55 am

Starter: Hey, can your dog surf? I heard that about 75 dogs competed in the Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon in early September at Del Mar Dog Beach near San Diego. Several thousand people showed up to watch the seaside circus sponsored by the Helen Woodward Animal Center and Blue Buffalo pet foods. It's a gnarly contest – featuring bone-gnawing, teeth-gnashing surf dogs.

Here's another pic:

Explainer: Prizes were awarded by weight class – small, medium, large and extra large. First place winners in each class competed against each other in a best-in-showdown event for the Best in Surf title. The top dogs received an array of prizes, including: a wooden surf board trophy, a lei, a $20 gift card, a bag of dog food and, according to Jessica Gercke of the animal center, "a basket of goodies fit for a canine kahuna."

Impressive Depth: The event is in its 8th year. All proceeds go to the center. Many of the pups that participate in dog surfing are adoptees from shelters. There are social groups, such as the So Cal Surf Dogs, that meet regularly for bow-wow outings.

Quotes You Can Quote: "Surfdog owners see surfing as an opportunity to bond with their furry friends," Jessica says. "Dogs who don't like the water or the beach will not ride a surf board. The dogs you see out surfing can't wait to get on their boards and go running into the water with their humans — for the fun of it."

Closer: Oh, so your dog does surf? That's way cool. But what about your pet goat? In 2012 a surfer goat got in on the action. Here's a photo of the bitchin' beast – with a dog dude — hanging four.

What is The Protojournalist? New-school storytelling, old-school reporting. @NPRtpj

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