Selva the surfer wore a lime-green life vest, but her colleagues braved the
waters without protection. All of them could at least doggie paddle if they
fell off their boards.
About a dozen four-legged practitioners of stand-up paddle boarding took to
the waves with their human owners off Rio de Janeiro's Barra Beach, practicing
for a second annual competition next month in which canine-human teams race
around buoys. Competitors are disqualified if the dog falls into the water.
"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 is expected to draw as many as 50 dogs and their owners,
from border collies to golden retrievers to mutts.
'A sport everybody can do'
Iracema Braun, a stand-up paddle teacher who charges just over $100 a month
to take dog lovers and their canines out on the waters twice a week, said that
it's "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 aren't 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.
Here's a quick video on how to best paddle with your dog: