Dogs Steal the Spotlight at Australia Surfing Festival

Australian dog trainer and former surfing champion Chris de Aboitiz (REAR) rides a wave with his dogs Rama (Front) and Millie (obscured) off Sydney's Palm Beach, February 18, 2016. An Australian dog trainer and former surfing champion is using the discipline of surfing as a way of teaching owners to build healthy relationships with man's best friend. REUTERS/Jason Reed

Professionals, amateurs, tandem-surfing stars and man's best friend all descended on Noosa, on Queensland, in Australia, recently, for the world's biggest surf festival by competitor numbers.

One of the most popular competitions in the Noosa Festival of Surfing is the Dog Spectacular, which is exactly as cute as it sounds. Noosa Festival Co-Founder Paul Jarratt says his is the only festival or surfing event in the world where dogs surf with their masters.

"It's a wonderful experience for dog and human," Jarratte said. "It's not really about winning or losing; it's a celebration of all the good things we love about surfing, the ocean and environment that we are privileged to have in Noosa.

"I think that's why we attract surfers and their families from all over the world, we've got 20 countries represented this year."

Kerry Pittman, a first-time dog surfer, took to the waves with her four-legged sidekick, Kelvin.

"It went pretty well and I'm pretty proud of him for staying on the board for the whole time," she said. "I was thinking at some point that he was going to jump off but he trusted me enough to stay. We're going to do it again for sure."

Of course, dogs are hardly the only participants in the Festival, now in its 25th year. Surfers of all kinds, including longboard, shortboard, finless, tandem and stand-up paddle boards can take part. Even bodysurfers are allowed to join the fun.

The Festival runs through March 12, with more than 30 competitive events.