Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Dogs take to waves on paddle boards

A dog named Jack stands at the front of a paddle board as his owner trains off Barra de Tijuca beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP)

About a dozen canine practitioners of stand-up paddle boarding have taken to the waves with their human owners on Rio de Janeiro's Barra Beach, practising for a competition in which canine-human teams race around buoys.

"The idea started when I was on my board and my dog was tied up on the beach. I said to myself, 'Man he wants to come to the water!' so I put him on the board and he loved it," said Marco Sarnelli, the event organiser.

The race on February 16 is expected to draw as many as 50 dogs and their owners, from border collies to golden retrievers to mutts. Competitors are disqualified if the dog falls into the water.

Selva the surfer wore a lime-green life vest, but her dozen colleagues braved the waters without protection during practice for the second annual competition.

Iracema Braun, a stand-up paddle teacher who charges just over 100 dollars (£73) a month to take dog lovers and their canines out on the waters twice a week, said it is "a sport everybody can do. You don't have to be an athlete to do it ... any dog can do it".

Brazilian paddle board enthusiasts are not the first to take their pets out on the water.

Canine paddle board races in California have served as fundraisers for local shelters, and several websites dedicated to the sport include forum sections with readers trading tricks on how to get their dogs hooked on the sport.

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