Surfing Dogs Show Passion, Trust

When Buddy the Surfing Dog rode out to catch a wave Friday at Dog Beach, his attitude was “Go big or go home.”

So many factors were at stake – the height of the wave, the length of the wave and of course what style points he could gain during the ride.

Buddy was one of a number of dogs vying for Top Dog in the surfing competition as part of the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge.

The annual competition traveled to Southern California as part of the San Diego County Fair. For the first time, organizers have added surfing to the usual round of events that include dog diving, freestyle flying disc, head-to-head weave poles, Jack Russell hurdle racing and agility.

The surfers competed in heats while a group of judges, including U.S. Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis, watched from the beach.

“It’s amazing, the board is going to wobble. It’s really uncertain footing for a dog. To get a dog comfortable in that kind of situation really says something about the dog’s trust in its handler,” said Louganis.

That’s one of the things Bruce Hooker credits for Buddy’s success.

“He’s got a passion and ultimate trust,” Hooker said. “He learned how to surf when I was teaching my son how to boogie board. He just wanted to be part of the family.”

That and the fact that Jack Russell Terriers are “adrenaline junkies and he definitely fits that mold,” said Hooker.

He has spent 9 of his 11 years surfing and still Buddy ends one ride and can’t wait to get out for the next.

“He’s very possessive of his board. When other dogs get around his board, he’s not too happy about that” said Hooker.

After a couple of wipeouts, including one where the lifeguards had to pull Buddy from the waves, he and his partner decided to look for a couple of safe waves and just have fun.

After all, that’s what surfing is all about.

Schedule of events for Saturday, June 13 at the San Diego County Fair.
11:00 AM Agility Course Inspection
11:20 AM Agility Forerunners
11:25 AM National Anthem
11:30 AM Incredible Agility Competition
12:30 PM Incredible Diving Dog Competition
1:30 PM Incredible Jack Russell Hurdle Racing
2:15 PM Incredible Head-to-Head 60-Weave Pole Racing
2:45 PM Incredible Freestyle Flying Disc Competition

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