PHOTOS: Surfing Plus Dogs Equals Instagram Gold

1 min
Surf Dog Teddy, with his custom life preserver including his Instagram hashtag, came up from San Diego for this event. (Ethan Lindsey/KQED)

It's an event made for the social media world.

Nearly 4,000 people ⁠— smartphones and digital cameras at the ready — descended on Pacifica State Beach on Saturday morning to watch and photograph about 50 dogs catching some waves.

"It's so Instagrammable," said Kay-Dee Lane, who drove up to Pacifica for the event from San Diego with her daughter and dog Beezel, who used to surf but has recently 'retired.' "The best part is the night after when you are looking for all the photos online."

Beezel, who “retired” from competitive dog surfing this year, according to his owner Katie Lane, who drove up from San Diego for the event.
Beezel “retired” from competitive dog surfing this year, according to his owner Kay-Dee Lane. (Ethan Lindsey/KQED)

The annual World Dog Surfing Championships in Pacifica has multiple heats for dogs, based on size, and contests where a dog and their human ride on boards together.

"This is definitely the largest it has ever been. This contest started four years ago," said Michael Uy, owner of previous champion Abbie Girl, an Australian Kelpie rescue dog.  "It was literally a handful of people that showed up one morning on a beach. This is crazy!"

Thousands gather in Pacifica to take part in the annual World Dog Surfing Championships.
Hundreds gather in Pacifica to take part in the annual World Dog Surfing Championships. (Ethan Lindsey/KQED)

Like many of the dogs in the event, Abbie Girl has a robust online persona including a web siteInstagram account and Youtube videos. Abbie holds the Guinness World Record for the longest surf by a dog, and in 2014 she was the first dog to make it into the International Surfing Hall of Fame.

Uy said that the online presence actually helps drive the community and popularity of dog surfing as a sport.

"A lot of the people who are here follow a lot of the dogs on Instagram," explained Uy.

The World Dog Surfing championship has turned into quite an event for Pacifica, drawing nearly 4,000 spectators, vendors and even the mayor.
The World Dog Surfing championship has turned into quite an event for Pacifica, drawing nearly 4,000 spectators, vendors and even the mayor. (Ethan Lindsey/KQED)
Carson, with his custom surfboard, came in 3rd place in the competition.
Carson, with his custom surfboard, came in 3rd place in the competition. (Ethan Lindsey/KQED)
Murphy, a one year old dog who didn’t surf in the competition, plays in the water for the first time in his life. His owner, Vickie Nguyen, bought the shark outfit online and it arrived yesterday. Just in time for the event.
Murphy, a one year old dog who didn’t surf in the competition, plays in the water for the first time in his life. His owner, Vickie Nguyen, bought the shark outfit online and it arrived yesterday. Just in time for the event. (Ethan Lindsey/KQED)

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