One of my favorite annual events in Huntington Beach, which has been rightfully dubbed as Surf City USA, is the Surf Dog competition. Dogs, and their people, come from around the world (including Australia and Brazil) to rival for the Top Dog title at Dog Beach. Fans from all over Southern California bring their fur-children to watch. Those who choose stay after the event could attend the NY Dog Film Festival at Pacific City. Friday night’s festivities included a Pooch Party fashion show at the Bella Terra shopping center. On Sunday, dog lovers were invited to bring their fur-baby to try Stand-Up-Paddle boarding in Newport Beach’s Back Back. It was an all-around doggie filled weekend!
Having also attended the past two years’ U.S. Surf Open, the biggest difference (aside from the four-legged hang 20 competitors) is the crowd’s level of engagement. No matter how small the wave, everyone cheers loudly for the dogs that catch it. If a dog wipes out, you’ll hear a loud “Ohhhhhhhhh!!!!” from the crowd hoping the Catch Crew can quickly pull them up out of the surf. You will often hear from first comers, “Look! Look! OMG!” when they see a surfing dog even though they came to see surfing dogs. It’s fascinating and an experience that you just have to see to believe.
Last year was the first year I had attended the event and only stayed for the first few morning hours to watch the smallest dog category continue to get wiped out by larger-than-normal waves. It was difficult for them to catch any and many of the contestants gave up before the timer rang. So I didn’t stay the whole day.
This year, the waves were a perfectly sized 2-4 feet and sets came in regularly enough to make the heats exciting to watch. I also didn’t realize until we got there that the competition included tandem surfing. Imagine my surprise to see two dogs per board surfing waves in to the shore. Awesome!
Pumped on passion for Surf City, we decided to visit the Surf Museum, which was previously merely walked past with a comment, “We should check that out someday.” Someday was today!
For $2 per adult, you too can see Huntington Beach’s surf history and the surfers around the globe who have shaped the sport.
Upon leaving, I stopped at the restroom and got a chuckle at reading the sign on the wall.
Another claim to fame for Huntington Beach is the Guinness World Record for most surfers on a surfboard. The hand-crafted custom board weighed 1,100 pounds and 62 surfers rode the board in for a twelve second ride. It now stands on display in the parking lot outside of the museum for all tourists and locals to admire.
All in all, it was a GREAT day of watching new, up and coming doggie-surfers and paying our respects to those who paved the way.
I love this town!