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PItching is where your human sets you up on a wave and lets you go. Sounds easy, but this is the hardest part of dog surfing, and unfortunately, entirely up to your human. You can recover from a bad pitch (more on that later) but it still means you have to try again. With a good pitch, though, you can get into a wave that will give you the ride of your life!

The idea is for your human to push you so that you're moving at the same speed of the wave before he lets you go. The wave then keeps you going. If you're riding big waves, you will pick up speed as you slide down the shoulder, across the face. It's always best to be pitched at an angle across the wave, not completely perpendicular to it, to get a longer ride. But if the wave has no shoulder and is closing out, or you're riding the white water, straight-in is the way to go!

Humans differ in pitching styles. One hand is typically on the board or on you, but from there, some launch you from their side, others from directly behind the board, and in shallow water, we've even seen the "stand over." And different conditions make different styles more effective. Dad invented a technique for big wave riding that starts with him in front of my board! We haven't quite perfected that one yet...


You want to be pitched at the top part of the swell or with your board's tail just in the white water, where the greatest force of the wave is. There's a sweet spot there that just takes practice finding.

A late pitch or weak pitch will not give you enough speed to catch the wave, and it will pass under you. If you're comfortable on the board, you can sometimes save this by dropping the board in yourself - walk to the front of the board to it to accelerate down the front of the wave.

With an early pitch, you can be in a bit of trouble. If you go out too early, and then lose speed, you're a sitting duck when the wave comes. If it's a big wave, the roof could come down on you. If it's a high-energy wave, you could get rolled into the washing machine. This is where wipe-outs happen.


In shallow water, pitching is relatively easy. Usually, the wave has already broken if you're shallow water. Through the legs, side (less disturbance), bumper grab (for deeper water). Static release not effective - low power waves.


Static release, paddle or side.


Shrimp kick, or paddle.


Special leash for board for human fine tuning their pitch. Useful in competitions.

Big wave side pitching

Credit: © 2009 Diane Edmonds

“Abbie G on Launch” © 2009 Jake Gonen

Dog Surfing

Getting Started







SurFur Lingo


Being a good pitcher means knowing how to read the waves - the different types, ways of movement, and parts of a wave. The best way to do this is to get your human some surf lessons. This will not only make him a better breacher and pitcher, but a much safer one, as well. You'll then be less likely to get thrown into some gnarly water that will chew you up. Remember - dog surfing is s team sport where everyone has a job to do. The better they are at their part, the more fun this whole thing is!