By Cindi Courbat
Boaz and Koa, two adorable 1-year-old Chihuahua pups, proved even the tiniest canines can surf. The dynamic duo held their own against bigger and more experienced surf dogs during a recent exhibition held in Cocoa Beach.
Surfing dog events are part showmanship and part real competition. Last month the eighth annual surfing dog competition held in San Diego, CA involved dozens of canine participants. The Washington Post covered the event and it was featured on the Travel Channel.
The surf dog closer to home getting the most headlines is a black-and-white pit bull mix named Booker D. Surfdog. He and his owner, Adam Steinberg, stage surf dog demonstrations up and down the East Coast. Over Easter weekend, the Surf Dog event came to Cocoa Beach during the annual East Coast Surfing Festival.
“The crowd couldn’t stop taking photos of the dogs. Koa and Boaz had hundreds of visitors at the AVET, Project booth before and after the competition,” said Garren Cone, of Sebastian.
Boaz and Koa are therapy dogs owned by Garren and his wife, Kim. The couple are founders of a non- profit organization called AVET which supports military families. Through that organization, they met Adam Steinberg, a dog handler who organized the popular surfing dog event.
Both dogs had previously been in the ocean but it took some practice to get them up on a surfboard.
Steinberg recommends fitting your dog with a proper-fitting life jacket — one that sports a handle on top to make it easier for you to grab your dog. If you have a pool and allow your dog to swim in it, you should teach them how to enter and exit the pool.
Just as with children, safety is of utmost importance — and some dogs take to surfing quicker than others.
“Koa is simply a natural! Either that or she was so reluctant to get wet that she stayed on the board.” said Garren. “During the contest Koa rode four waves successfully. She had about 10 partial rides. Boaz, on the other hand, needs much more practice and confidence before he truly rides any waves and hangs 20.”
As for their future as canine wave riders — both dogs are preparing for another surfing event to be held in November.