Air, Land, and Sea
by Scott Broecker
Whether riding across the surface of an ocean wave, flying through the air to catch a spinning disc, or gliding across an asphalt carpet, one thing is crystal clear, extreme dogs love what they can do and relish the chance to get out and do it. Most of these dogs are born with some natural drive and talent, but their people are to be given a lot of credit for taking the time to nurture them and keep them at the top of their game.
Gus, The Frisbee Dog
Gus is an athleticly built Border Collie mix who has been polishing his frisbee skills since moving to Pacific Grove as a pup eight years ago. On a recent trip to the beach with his mom, Cindie, Gus heads out onto the sand and waits for his first throw. Before it’s even released into the air Gus takes off in great anticipation leaving a small sand storm in his wake.
Depending upon the throw, he will use an array of different approaches to make his catch. A low throw might require him to make a running horizontal dive such as a baseball player, a hovering disc might call for a short pause and high vertical leap like that of an NBA shot blocker, while a perfectly timed throw at the right height could allow him to make more of a freestyle aerial grab.
Any which way Gus is happy putting some of his boundless energy to good use. In between catches he herds some seagulls out of his playing area and positions himself for the next throw.
Lola, The Skateboarding Dog
Bulldogs, not being very fast on their own, have the ideal build for skateboarding. By taking advantage of their low center of gravity and great strength they can maintain their balance and really get moving on four wheels.
Lola is so skilled at skateboarding there is nothing that stops her, including solid wallls, ramps, or other skaters. Her board gets flipped on its back? No problem. Lola needs no help getting it upright and lining herself up for another run. Forwards or backwards, she is happy as long as she is rolling. Pushing herself up the ramp she falls short of the top, instead of bailing out, she cruises down backwards with just as much confidence and ease.
With true grit and determination, Lola stays perfectly balanced. Unlike her two legged counterparts, who by the way watch her in awe, Lola can lean to her right and propel herself with two legs. After getting herself up to speed she puts all four paws back on the board and with her tongue wagging she just glides along and takes in the breeze. All in all Lola is quite a showgirl!
Buddy, The Surfing Dog
Buddy is aptly nicknamed “The Lord of Dogtown” a term that refers loosely to a movie about a pioneering group of skateboarders. Being a pioneer in his own right as a canine surfer, Buddy owes much of what he has learned to his devoted guardian, Bruce Hooker. A lifelong surfer himself and someone who knows all the ins and outs of wave riding, Bruce has formed a great bond with Buddy and has thoroughly earned his trust.
It all started nine years ago when Buddy was just two years old. While Bruce was teaching his young son, Matthew, to boogie board, the board got away and as it drifted down the beach Buddy jumped on. Bruce’s daughter Megan continued to pull him along for what turned out to be his first ride and the start of a surfing career.
Buddy gets excited from the very moment he sees the boards being loaded into the pickup truck (including his own personal 5’ 6’’ Doyle softboard). Possessing what Bruce refers to as surf stoke or the “spirit of surfing,” Buddy loves his time in the water and has learned great techniques. Whether he is riding tandem on the front of Bruce’s board or riding solo, Buddy knows exactly where he needs to be on the board. He leans back on the tail to keep from pearling, he can turn in either direction and has even been seen balancing on just his hind legs.
Now eleven years old, Buddy is no longer a grommet and has become one of the veterans of his regular surf spot on “C” street in Ventura, California. Be sure to check out Buddy and Bruce’s videos on youtube. (www.utube.com, search for buddy surf dog or visit buddy's official webiste at www.surfdogbuddy.com)