Dozens of dogs — and more than 1,000 people — showed up for the second annual World Dog Surfing Championships Saturday in Pacifica.

Dog surfing is relatively new — the first competition was in San Diego 12 years ago.

And while the event might seem silly, competitive dog surfing is growing quickly, with contests in Hawaii, Florida, Texas and as far away as Australia.

Thousands showed up to Pacifica State Beach for the second annual World Dog Surfing Championships. (Laura Klivans/KQED)

Dogs compete solo, just dog and board, or tandem, with either a person or with another dog.

The dogs are scored by three judges.

“Number one is stay on the board. And number two is looking happy,” explained Sam Stahl, one of the judges. “No one wants to see a dog terrified at the end of a surfboard.”

At the event, an Australian Kelpie named Abbie Girl not only stayed on her board but maneuvered it, too.

Abbie Girl took home top prize in the World Dog Surfing Championships in Pacifica. (Laura Klivans/KQED)

Michael Uy is her owner. He started surfing with her after he adopted her from a rescue organization. He’d take her to the beach to mellow her out and socialize her.

“One time we put her on a surfboard to rest. And she stood up on the board and we thought, ‘Well, why don’t we put her on a wave and see what happens,’ and she just rode it all the way into shore,” Uy said.

Abbie Girl took home the prize for top dog — she’s now the two-time reigning champion of the event.

VIDEO: Pups Go for Top Dog at World Dog Surfing Championships 10 August,2017Laura Klivans


Laura Klivans

Laura Klivans is a community health reporter at KQED. In addition to KQED, her work can be heard on NPR, Here & Now, and PRI. Before getting hooked on all things audio, she worked in education, leading groups of students abroad. One of her favorite jobs was teaching on the Thai-Burmese border, working with immigrants and refugees.

Laura won the 2016 North Gate Award for Excellence in Audio Reporting and Production and the Gobind Behari Lal Award for Excellence in Reporting on a Science or Health Story for a radio documentary about adults with imaginary friends. She’s done many fellowships, including UC Berkeley’s Human Rights Fellowship and the Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs. Laura has a master’s in journalism from U.C. Berkeley and a master’s in education from Harvard.

She likes to eat chocolate. For breakfast., twitter: @lauraklivans,

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