Gary Conkling Life Notes

Mostly whimsical reflections on life

Hangin’ Paw with Abbie

We clearly have underrated the potential of dogs. They can fight crime, detect cancer, protect our homes, guide the blind and give therapy to the sick. Now we find out dogs can surf.

Hanging out at the beach one day
And I heard someone say
If I Was cool I’d be surfing

Not only surf, but compete on surfboards in the World Dog Surfing Championships. A pound full of pooches waddled onto a beach in Pacifica, California over the weekend and performed to the delight of 1,000 people and an unknown number of non-surfing dogs.

An Australian kelpie named Abbie swept the event. She not only made it to the beach, but manipulated her specially built dog board like a true surfer dude.

Abbie’s owner, Michael Uy, who rescued her from the pound, told NPR he brought the dog to the beach when she was a restless puppy to calm her down. He took her for swims and on a whim plopped her on a surfboard. The dog took to surfing and, as the song goes, made beach babes drool.

Dogs compete solo, in tandem and with a person. It’s a real championship. Canine competitors wear shades. Winning surfer dogs get trophies. Their human managers get bottles of wine.

Not just any dog can compete. Surf dog scouts look for pups with the ability to stand, ride and move with the wave. They also look for dogs with low centers of gravity and  that unafraid of water.

Psychologists haven’t yet determined whether surfer dogs are successful because they remain cool on their boards or are terrified they will fall off. They may just want treats after a spectacular splashy ride.

As fetching as they are, surf pups haven’t attracted big-time media coverage or multi-million contracts. They are still animal-athletes in it for the thrill. Humans who attend use the occasion to fundraise for good causes. There is a lot of drinking afterward – dogs from bowls; humans from pitchers.

We really shouldn’t be surprised at the prowess of dogs on surf boards. We celebrate thoroughbred racehorses, We applaud circus animals doing acrobatic tricks. We swoon over videos of cute kittens batting balls of yarn.

But there is something special, perhaps primordial about dogs hopping on surf boards. It’s as if they are trying to mimic their human companions who rode in on the waves to dominate the land. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch.

Let’s face it, we like dog surfing because we love dogs. Their attentive faces, unconditional personalities and wet noses. Dogs may be genetically coded to associate with humans. Humans are constitutionally driven to have them by our sides – even when hangin’ ten in the ocean.

The Jingle of a Dog’s Collar

I was lookin’ for the main line when I was
Workin’ through a friend of mine but I
Couldn’t seem to find the time
What do they know about love
What do they know about love
What do they know about love my friend
What do they know about love
The Jingle of a Dog’s Collar would be good right here
The Jingle of a Dog’s Collar would be fine

Butthole Surfers



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