Charlie the Golden Retriever wows crowds at California dog surfing championships
Charlie the Golden Retriever showed his skills in front of a large crowd and other participants at the World Canine Surfing Championships in California, as he dragged his board into the water and rode the waves all alone.
This year’s event was held at Linda Mar Beach in Pacifica, 15 miles south of San Francisco, on Aug. 6, where dogs of all breeds competed in different categories based on size and whether they are alone, with a person, or ride another dog.
Charlie, a seven-year-old yellow labrador retriever, started surfing during his early days as a two-year-old puppy. He had traveled to the championships from San Diego this year with his owner, Jeffrey Niebor, by car.
He was cheered by a crowd of at least 50 people before being called to compete for the large to very large dogs category. The retriever then impressively dragged his surfboard into the water before stepping on it and catching as many waves as possible.
He finished in second place and even managed to get a few spins during his cameo on the water.
Charlie, a seven-year-old yellow Labrador retriever from San Diego, California, took second place in the large to very large dogs category at the Dog Surfing Championships in Pacficia, California on Saturday. Pictured: Charlie drags his board into the water himself from the beach
With a little help from his owner, Jeffrey Niebor, Charlie managed to get on his surfboard and catch some big waves despite the cloudy weather
OUR TIME TO SHINE: Charlie stands on his four legs as his owner pushes his board deeper into the ocean water before riding several waves
Charlie’s owner said of his performance: “I’ve heard from other surfers that I’m the hardest working man there is because Charlie likes… he doesn’t sit still. He gets so excited that he won’t sit still.’
“He’ll jump off the board, jump on the board, jump off the board. And his weight is definitely a factor for me because I’m not the youngest man there is and he’s not the smallest dog there is, but together we work well.”
“He knows what to do. And we usually do it pretty well and we have a lot of fun doing it,” Neibor added.
Judges judge performance on several factors: the length and duration of the ride, position and technique, size, courage and intensity of the waves.
Some dogs prefer to ride surfboards standing on all four legs, while others prefer to squat or sit, leaning on their front two. Charlie, however, stood upright with no fear in mind.
“It started with a camping trip to the beach,” Charlie’s owner, Jeffrey Niebor, told me the Dodo. “When Charlie was a puppy, I pushed him around on some really small waves.”
THAT’S HOW IT’S DONE: Charlie impressively caught a few waves and was still full of energy when he came back to shore
MY: Charlie was offered help getting his surfboard back to shore, but the retriever ended up doing it all alone
Charlie, who started surfing when he was two years old, came in second at the event when a bulldog named Faith claimed first place
The retriever loved it so much that the beach became his favorite place to go and have fun, rather than staying home and doing his usual activities, such as napping on the couch, treats, and being petted.
“Once he figured out what to do, he got right into it,” Niebor recalls.
Charlie got used to surfing so quickly that it is sometimes difficult for his owner to keep up with his pace and intensity.
“When I get the board on the sand, I literally have to sit on it because it grabs it and leaves,” Niebor continued.
Charlie’s owner said he then decided to enter his dog into dog surfing competitions, which usually raise money for animal centers.
The surf-loving retriever is no stranger to competition, having made it to the finals the first two times he was entered.
He went on to win several awards, even though he didn’t finish in first place on Saturday.
The World Dog Surfing Championships in Pacifica have several categories in which dogs can compete: surfing with another dog (pictured), alone or with their owners
Faith, a Washington State Pitbull (center, with glasses), won the top prize in the large to very large dogs category
Owners and dogs from all over the country come to participate in the event, which is usually held in the San Francisco area. Pacifica is 15 miles south of the Bay Area
In fact, it was Skyler, an Australian cattle dog, who took the top prize and came in first in the Top Dog Final Overall Championship.
Faith, a Washington state pit bull who competed in the large dog category, came in second.
“It was great to see so many dogs get together and just surf. This is the first time I’ve seen dogs surf, so it was really good, and I hope my dog will be inspired,” said Prerani Rani, a dog owner from Santa Clara, California, who had just come to the event.
The Saturday surf contest, billed as the “world premiere dog surfing event,” has been hosted in the San Francisco area since 2006. It is an opportunity for dogs to show their talents and be adopted.