Behind the Scenes of a Dogs-Only Surfing Contest

The 2015 Surf City Surf Dog competition in Huntington Beach, California brought in 64 surfing pooches and a crowd of around 300 people on September 27. The competition is the main event in the three-day fundraising weekend for five dog-focused charities. The annual contest is becoming increasingly popular, and the number of participating dogs has doubled since the first Surf Dog event seven years ago.

The charities that benefited were Barks of Love Animal Rescue, Huntington Dog Beach, French Bulldog Rescue Network, Southern California Golden Retriever Rescue, and Westie Rescue of Orange County. A wide variety of breeds are represented in the competition, from French bulldogs to Labrador retrievers and Dalmatians.

The dogs, in life vests, head into the water with their owners who help them catch a wave. The surf was manageable this year, and some dogs were able to ride all the way back to shore. Huntington Beach junior lifeguards assisted the animals after their ride.

"The dog pretty much lets you know when they want to go on a surfboard," John Murphy, owner of one of the dogs in the competition, told the AFP. "He climbs on the board and the dog tells you if he really wants to surf or not. After that it's up to you to yourself to put him on good waves and give him a stable board so that everyone has a good time."