Dog Surfing 101: Surf Schools That Teach Fido to Hang Ten

Posted by Billy Francis

Did you know that dogs can learn to surf? While some pups may be content to paddle in the shallows, those with a taste for the extreme won’t be satisfied until they’re carving the waves for themselves. But before you invest in matching boards, we suggest you teach Fido how to sit, stay and hang ten at one of these radical dog surfing schools.

Good Kharma Surf Instruction

Huntington Beach, CA
"And to think, yesterday I was playing fetch." Photo by

Huntington Beach, known as "Surf City USA" and considered one of the best dog beaches on the West Coast, is a fitting home for Good Kharma Surf Instruction. The school combines dog training and surfing to improve your dog’s obedience while also getting him ready to surf. Lessons focus on increasing your pup’s balance and strength by starting on land, then progressing to the shallows, and finally riding the waves for real. Human surfers should bring dog treats to reward their hard-working pups for not wiping out.

Owner Jill Nakano is a National Surf Schools and Instructors Association certified instructor. Her aim is to get students up on their boards and riding a wave within a half hour of their first lesson. You may be joined on the water by Kihei (key-hay), Jill’s Chihuahua mix, a multiple surf competition champion who can show your furry friend how it’s done.

Good Kharma is located on Huntington Beach, CA. Lessons are $75 per hour, which includes use of a board and a canine life vest.

Salty Dog Paddle

Palm Beach, FL
Helping dogs surf and feel good since 1977. Photo by

Salty Dog Paddle teaches dogs and their owners to ride the waves at several beaches in South Florida. Founded in 1977, the company uses Florida longboards to help dogs overcome their fear of the water. When the instructors realized that dogs preferred surfing closer to the shore, they began teaching them in the shallows rather than farther out at sea. Canine swimming lessons are included, with doggy lifejackets on hand for your not-so-buoyant good boy. In addition to helping dogs gain confidence and have fun on the water, the company finds homes for thousands of animals and donates to dogs in need of emergency medical care.

Salty Dog Paddle offers lessons in Palm Beach and Broward Counties. Their Palm Beach office is located at 401 S County Rd, Palm Beach, FL. Classes cost $99 per person for two hours. Dogs surf for free.

Hawaii Surf Dogs

Waikiki, HI
A wave is a dog's best friend.

Surf-loving dogs can thank the people of Hawaii for their beloved pastime. “The Sport of Kings” was strictly for Hawaiian royalty until 1819, but today surfing can be enjoyed by all humans and canines. The ground swells around the islands create some of the best surf conditions on the planet, and Fido can learn the surfing ropes with the help of Hawaii Surf Dogs. Instructor Rocky catches waves with Hina and Kahuna, his own surfing dogs, all the time. They can join your class if you’d like. For a more leisurely style of boarding, Rocky and his beloved dogs can also teach you to stand up paddleboard with your pup. Whichever board you choose to cruise on, Rocky can help you both ride the waves like Hawaii’s kings of old.

Hawaii Surf Dogs is located on the North Shore of Oahu, HI. Lessons are $75 for 30 minutes on the water.

Helen Woodward Animal Center

Del Mar, CA
Every student needs positive reinforcement. Photo by Helen Woodward Animal Center

The Helen Woodward Animal Center hosts an annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon in North Beach (also known as Dog Beach) in Del Mar, San Diego. In the run-up to the event, dogs and their owners can take part in beginner lessons with an expert surfer who will teach your dog how to get on a board, stand up and ride solo. Classes are small (and fill up fast), allowing special care to be given to each four-legged student.

Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon Lessons take place at Dog Beach in Del Mar, CA on July 14, July 28, Aug. 11 and Aug. 25, 2019. The fee is $45 per class and includes use of a dog life vest and soft-top foam board, on-land instruction and private lessons in the water.

Hoops & Hounds

Devon, GB
"This is way easier than I thought." Photo by Hoops & Hounds

Hoops & Hounds is a dog-training facility that offers more than just your average sit, stay and shake. Their Paws on Boards Surfing Classes are among the most varied we’ve found, offering Fido the opportunity to get out on the water on kayaks, paddleboards, skimboards, surfboards and even windsurfing boards. Both one-to-one and group lessons are available. The most important thing, according to head trainer Michelle, is that “dogs are happy throughout, so we teach all about dog body language and ensure the dogs can make choices about when to train and for how long.”

The school is located on the southeast coast of England in Barnstaple, Devon. Surf sessions are held in May, when the waters are a little warmer. Start your radical pooch off with the foundation course, beginning in the classroom before taking their new skills to the sea. When your dog gets the hang ten of it, she can advance to lessons involving more difficult conditions, styles and techniques.

One-to-one Paws on Boards sessions are £50 per hour, including use of surfboard and dog life jacket. Group classes are £15 per hour if five or more dogs are in attendance.

Would your dog enjoy learning how to surf? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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