Surfing with Man’s Best Friend

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What could be better than surfing the waves of Hawaii? For many, a surf session with their canine best friend tops surfing solo. For these surfing dogs, this isn’t just a trip to the beach, they ride the waves along with their owners.

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Milo and Keoni | Photo courtesy of Heather Shadur

Milo, an eleven-year-old Pomeranian on Kauai, is a familiar sight on a surfboard in Hanalei Bay with his owner, artist Keoni Durant. Milo has been surfing since he was a puppy, and now his five puppies are carrying on the tradition and training to surf at four months old, with the help of Hawaii Life agent and surfer Kacy Chatfield, R(S).

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Get your dog used to standing on a surfboard out of the water first | Photo courtesy of Heather Shadur

Quick Tips: How to Teach Your Dog to Surf

If you have a water-loving dog, surfing or paddle boarding can be a great activity for you and your pet to enjoy together. According to trainer Helen Woodward, you should start by getting your dog comfortable with the surfboard out of the water first. She reminds dog-owners to make sure it is a place of reward and play, and that your dog receives rewards for staying on the board, not for jumping off. You want them to learn that it is a surfboard, not a diving board!

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Nui and his owner paddle-boarding | Photo by Winston Welborn

Most of all, have fun with it! Pretty soon your canine friend will get as excited as you do when you get your board out. The Big Island is a fantastic place to live and play, so let your dog in on the fun!

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Photo by Winston Welborn

As more dogs and their owners take up surfing together, perhaps we will one day have our own dog-surfing competition here on the Big Island, similar to the one held in Huntington Beach each September. Surfing with your dog could become a great way for both of you to get some exercise and enjoy the ocean beauty.

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Catch some waves on the Big Island of Hawaii | Photo by Ian Lindsey