Let us all judge ourselves by the criteria of the World Dog Surfing Championships

Extra points for style.
Extra points for style.
Image: Getty Images/AFP/Frederic J. Brown
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It is often said that the best surfer in the water is the one having the most fun. And yet, competitors in the sport are often judged on factors such as speed and the aptitude with which they combine dangerous maneuvers.

Not so in Pacifica, California, on Saturday (Aug.5), where the World Dog Surfing Championships brought out dozens of dogs, their owners, and over 1,000 spectators for its second annual competition. Three judges evaluated the canines’ performance on two key criteria: “No. 1 is stay on the board,” one judge explained to NPR. “And No. 2 is looking happy.”

These criteria, of course, might well be applied to sports and life outside of canine wave-riding. Are you maintaining balance in life—or at least having a good time while you try?

World Dog Surfing judge Sam Stahl told the San Francisco Chronicle that judging is a highly subjective process.

”It’s a feeling. You’re looking for ability to stand, ride, move in the wave,” said Stahl. “You’re looking for style. How panicked or how calm the dog is. That makes a difference.”

And as is often true in human life, style counts for a lot too. The Chronicle reports that one canine competitor wore sunglasses and a blue Mohawk. “I told him he’d look stupid but he didn’t care,” his owner told the paper. “He’s a laid-back dog. Nothing bothers him.”