Pets make a splash at Duke’s Oceanfest dog surfing contest

There were wet tails wagging in Waikiki Thursday afternoon for the annual dog surfing contest at Duke’s Oceanfest.

Several dogs, even some from the mainland, came to make a splash at the event.

They say every dog has its day, and for these four-legged surfers, it was their time to shine on the water.

“This is my dog, Poquito Tito, and he’s a chihuahua. He’s 3 years old, just under five pounds, and we did our very first ever doggy contest,” Linda Gehring said.

“He was awesome. He jumped off on a couple of waves, they were a little big for him, but we got some pictures,” Christian Weeks said of his dog.

This year, 17 pups paddled out to compete for best wave, best tandem, and best costume.

“It was amazing. He’s only been on a board twice before and he did fantastic,” Gehring said.

From small dogs to big dogs, the annual dog surfing contest brought participants from as far away as California.

“We have two dogs from California this year. One dog has been with us before. Her name is Abby, and she’s a world record holder,” said Kelli Bullock, a board member for Duke’s Oceanfest. “This year, she brought her friend, Cherie, the surf dog who’s a Frenchie.”

Some dogs had supporters waving signs in the crowd and others were even sponsored.

“At a very young age, at like eight weeks, we put her in up on the North Shore and just kept going, acclimated over and over,” Matt Tassos said. “I was hoping that she’d like it and eventually she did, and now she loves it.”

Organizers say the event not only honors and celebrates the legendary waterman Duke Kahanamoku but also the bond with man’s best friend.

“It’s all about trust between the dog and the owners and comfort in the water,” Bullock said.

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