Step 1 is getting the dog on the board. First he or she has to like the board, so make this part as fun as possible. There are actually two parts to this - getting the dog on the board, and keeping the dog on the board. The first part is easy...


There are many techniques for getting the dog on the board, and just as many opinions about which is better, but it really depends on your dog and your relationship. Basically, your dog can get on the board herself, or you can put her there (most people).

I was lucky. Since her first time, Abbie got on the board herself. I simply held it and called her. Since then, she’s waited for me to get into the water, then run over, and jumped on the board herself. We’ve practiced several variations of this - one where I hold the board as a ramp in shallow water, one where I float the board in deep water so she has to swim in, and another in deep, rough surf to simulate getting back on after being wiping out. She now knows that the board can provide relief from the waves, and will climb back on after a wipeout and wait for me to swim in to pick her up.

But if your dog isn’t a “on board” (ahem) from day one, there are still ways you can introduce her to this fun new sport.

The most popular method involves a big board - about twice the length of your dog.


Method pioneered by the San Diego Surfing Academy over the last few years - similar to human surfer training, it involves getting the dog comfortable on the board on the beach first. Then several people lift the board and see if the dog stays on it. They do this a few times. Finally, on the last lift, they walk the dog on the board out to the ocean. Usually 4 people - front, back, and sides of the board - do this. There, they slowly lower the dog onto the surface of the water and then wait for a wave!

Boarding up and heading out!

Credit: © 2009 Michael Uy

“Kalia and Leilei” © 2009 Michael Uy

Dog Surfing

Getting Started






SurFur Lingo