Australia is renowned for one of the world’s premier surf destinations. Surfing underpins an important factor in Australia’s coastal fabric. It forms part of a lifestyle for millions off Australians and has cultural status.
Surfing was brought to Australia in 1915 by Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku, who demonstrated a surf session in Sydney. Malibu Boards were introduced in 1956 and shortly after, well known Australian surf designer brands launched a multi-million dollar corporate industry. Coral reefs in the northern tropics subdue large swell, which makes surfing impossible.
Surfing is Australians favourite activity to spend time on the beach, there is no other way to describe it. Local surfers meet each morning to chat about swell and waves.
Many kids are on a surfboard before the can walk properly,
happy and proud surfer dads and moms introducing the youngsters to the thrill in the waves.
This is the picture I see almost every day when I launch my kayak through the swell to go offshore. The picture I haven’t seen before was this.
A dog on a surfboard. How cute is this?
I set out early mornings for another fishing adventure off Diggers Beach in Coffs Harbour. The local surf community had already gathered, deciding whether the swell was worth the dip, or if other beaches are more favourable. Astonished eyes greeted me as I passed with my yak on wheels, same scenario as usual. Wind and swell were calm and only a few Mack Tuna gave my reels a workout. A few turtles popped up for air in see-through water, it was a fairly relaxing morning.
Paddling back to the beach, even more, surfers enjoyed the fairly low swell, which is great for beginners. But, what is that on a surfboard?
I didn’t expect to see this, surf lessons for dogs? A chocolate Labrador on a surfboard, I couldn’t believe it? She wasn’t quite sure about this idea but wasn’t scared either. OM-D, that is what I need right now.
I pulled maniyak back to camp and got my camera out. An opportunity like this doesn’t come around very often and I wanted to make the most this unexpected event. Local girl Lillie took her parents chocolate Labrador Ruby out to the beach, who was eager to try surfing for the first time. Labradors are known for their curious and playful nature, Ruby wasn’t any different.
A little uncertain and under Lillie’s instructions, body posture is the key factor. There it is, the first wave rolled in.
Lillie gave the surfboards a little push and Ruby was on her way.
She did well for a while but when the surfboard jackknifed,
Ruby took the plunge.
Leaping forward in full body length, the wave got the better off her.
Being fully submerged, I expected Ruby to run on to dry land. Instead, she followed Lillie back to deeper waters. She was undeterred and eager to give it another go, as an Australian saying goes.
Lillie carefully lifted the surfing chocolate Labrador on to the surfboard again. Shaken, but not stirred, Ruby was up for another wave.
Getting through the swell is just as tricky.
Teamwork was required which was handled perfectly in clear waters.
Standing up would give a better balance, but she wasn’t keen on the idea. Laying on the board is a better option for a dog it seems.
A little chat and affection goes a long way whilst waiting for the next wave. Both were unmissably happy on the board, which was great to watch.
Ready, set and go, another wave was closing in.
Ruby missed the tube and came off early.
Another approach is needed. More weight on the surfboard would stabilize the board.
A tandem ride is an obvious choice. Together they enjoyed the calm waters. Lillie got some paddle momentum as the wave rolled in.
Lillie and Ruby enjoying the ride at Diggers Beach, New South Wales, Australia
A little uncertain, yet confident, Ruby enjoyed the ride.
Cool as a pro as the facial expression shows. How very cute. With the extra weight on the back, the board didn’t jackknife this time. Ruby and Lillie clearly enjoyed the surf together. They passed me with a big smile on their face, before eventually coming off.
Happy and still full of beans, Ruby ran back on shore.
Her adrenaline was still pumping, understandably.
Watching this happy surfing combination together, hand in paw, was just priceless. An unforgettable moment for all three of us. I have no doubt that this wasn’t the last time, this chocolate Labrador will be seen on a surfboard.