Let’s Go Surfin Now

When I was eight years old, we moved from Massachusetts to San Clemente, California. If you don’t know San Clemente, it is pretty much archetypal beach bum heaven. Perpetual sun, wide sandy beaches, and the smell of the salty ocean air at every turn.

I hated it.

Me, with my East Coast sensibility and hatred of the feeling of sand in between my toes, wanted nothing to do with the SoCal beach scene and couldn’t wait to escape from lala land back to the land of autumn leaves, icy roads, and Atlantic Ocean water.

I’m not exactly sure what I was thinking.

Sometime over the last 20-something years, I gradually came around. As I mentioned some time ago (warning: it’s that entry) I am not sure there is anywhere closer to heaven on earth than dog beach. Here, you have the collision of two paradigms of earthly perfection: the beauty of the earth meeting the waves, joined by the unbridled joy of man’s best friend plunging gleefully into the surf.

Which is why it made perfect sense to spend Saturday hedging my rapturous bet at Dog Beach: if I win, heaven. If I lose, heaven. There is simply no better place to be.

I am so very fortunate to live in San Diego near the incredible Helen Woodward Animal Center, whose ever expanding repertoire of pet related activities makes it impossible to live here without experiencing something singular. In the days leading up to the massive September Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon, they are holding regular surf clinics to teach dogs and their owners to enjoy the waves together.

I gave up on being a surfer chick a long time ago. I’m just not a strong enough swimmer. However, I have a Golden Retriever named Brody, and if ever there was a dog made for surfing, he’s it. Helping him be a surfer dude, I can do.

It was a small group that braved the chilly May weather to come out this Saturday. I hear the June clinics are pretty packed. For us, there were only three of us, which meant a ton of one-on-one attention. Here is Brody getting used to the board with surf pro and legend Guy Takayama. How lucky are we??

Brody surfs

P.S. Guy, I need to know where you got that sweet wetsuit.

After Brody got comfortable on the board, he was picked up board and all like a Roman king on a litter about to be sacrificed to Neptune, and brought to the edge of the chilly ocean waves.

There was about an 8:1 volunteer:surfer ratio. Helen Woodward does things right. Seriously, doesn’t this scream for a Dick Dale accompaniment?

We were out there for a full hour working on technique. Nose up, wait for a lull in the set, spin counter-clockwise, walk into the wave, let go. I bet you didn’t know it was so scientific.

I learned that Brody likes to walk the board and pull a spinner or two. That’s surfer for “jumps off the front of the board and spins around.” We will pretend that was on purpose.

For his second time out, I think he did awesome. It was the best bonding experience we have shared in a long time, and as such I think I really want to commit to working on this with him so I can get him into the actual September contest. What better way to celebrate his second birthday?

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that, didn’t I? My handsome boy is 2 today. I am so blessed to have the life I do.

Surf Dog

We’ll be celebrating the awesome all week with some giveaways and fun. In the meantime, I have to give a huge shoutout to Kahuna Kona, one of the amazing So Cal Surf Dogs- when we accidentally left our digital card at home, she stepped up and not only took video for me, she edited it and put it on YouTube! I can’t thank you enough!

YouTube Preview Image
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  • Love it! I bet he slept well that night!

    • Yes! He crashed! I love it!

  • Cathey

    Awesome footage! Our goldens have all loved water and if we lived near the ocean, we’d HAVE to be doing this! (in spite of the hunting crowd that says “them goldens, they don’t much like water”) We can’t keep our “swamp collies” out of the water!! A wonderful bonding experience for you!

    • “swamp collies” generates the most delightful visual! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • Tonya

    Love it! I am so, so jealous (being landlocked smack dab in the middle of the US)! You can see how much Brody loves his mom in the last picture. He’s a lucky pup.


    • Woo hoo! Pawty all around!

  • Yippie and Happy Birthday Brodylicious!

    P.S. Is that a sea turtle on your foot??

    • Tonya

      I wondered the same thing. Sure looks like it!

    • Ha! You have good eyes! That is my little honu.

  • Lisa W

    Love it! And the picture of the two of you is too awesome…

    Happy happy birthday, handsome Brody!!!

    • Aw, thank you. I love the little guy.

  • That’s great! It’s slightly hilarious to me that this even exists but I guess your dog is a real californian – my golden, being from toronto, is currently slightly depressed that the snow has gone and the sun is out.

    • Trust me, I’ve done it and it’s still hilarious to me that it exists!

  • Tamara

    Happy birthday Brody ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Great photos and video! Congratulations Brody. Let’s see, you are going to need a “kick-ass” surfer handle. “Golden Boy”? “Buckin’ Brody”? ???
    Happy 2nd birthday. I’m sure you’ll get lots of presents and treats.

  • Chile

    Yappy Birfday Brodyman!!

    Love the photos, he looks so determined in that one. Can’t wait to watch the video.

    • He loved it! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • TaxiLab

    Oooh, I am so jealous!! I too am land-locked in the middle of the US. But at least we have an awesome members only dog park that has a dock and a lake. I just wonder if Dory could sit still long enough to ride a surf board?

    Happy Birthday Brodacious! (love the surfer-dude nickname!) Sloppy kisses from my pack to you ๐Ÿ˜€

    • We’re going to practice our technique. It will take a bit.

  • Hi Brody!

    Wow! That looks like fun! Maybe I can get my Human to take me down the river to the ocean…just playin’ in those waves would be worth it!

    Y’all come by now,
    Hawk aka BrownDog

  • So cool!

    • Thank you! We loved it!

  • Happy Second Birthday Brody! Looks like you and Mom had an awesome time! I am SO cheering for you in the September contest!

    • Thank you! ๐Ÿ˜€

  • renee mcdaniel

    BAMBOOZLER brody

  • Kahuna Kona

    “Brodacious”!! Gnarly name Dude! I’m looking forward to shreddin’ some radonculous waves with you bro;)!

  • I so want to take Preston and Elvis surfing! To bad I don’t live anywhere close to the ocean ๐Ÿ™