If you’re in the lineup when Chris de Aboitiz, 53, of SUP Dog Oz paddles out on his Hobie® EVA-Lution stand up, you’re in for a treat. The Australian is the 1999 World Tandem Surfing Champion. He’s used to carving waves with a friend or two on his board. It’s the company he keeps that turns heads. When Chris hits the surf, his big wave dogs Rama and Millie often join him.
Chris and his surfing canines are quite the sensation. Along with Rama and Millie and up to three more dogs at a time, he’s hit it big: Reuters, the Daily Mail, Men’s Journal, USA Today and much more. A TV show is rumored.
“It’s all coming together now: the dogs surfing on my shoulders, the interaction. It’s all about having fun,” Chris says.
He means it. The activity is healthy, for Chris and his dogs. “We feel alive. The ocean, the water, it recharges us,” he says.
Although Chris is making a huge splash now, he’s no flash in the pan. He has been surfing with his dogs for years. The attention, however, is welcome. The dog lover and professional trainer is using it to spread an important message.
“All our dogs are rescues. There are so many good, adoptable dogs at rescue centers. We’d like the public to grab them rather than going to a puppy mill,” he says.
Watching Chris and his dogs surf is thrilling. If you’d like a taste of paddle boarding with your dog, Chris says it’s easy – on flatwater. “It takes me about 5 minutes to put a dog on the board. I put it in sit/stay, then paddle to a nearby sand bar. We throw a stick. The dog associates the stand up paddleboard as a happy place. The next time it can’t wait to go,” he says.