Monday, June 22, 2009

Oh, my DOG! See Spot Surf

Apparently it was International Surfing Day on Saturday. So this post might seem a little late, but what good was it going to do me to write about it before now when nothing had even happened yet? "Established by Surf Magazine and Surfrider Foundation, an environmental organization started by surfers that works to protect oceans, beaches and waves, it is a day for surfers to give back to the ocean." Excellent. What could possibly go wrong?

OK, I'll admit that TJ, the Spanish Spaniel, is kind of amusing in this photo.  But that doesn't make it right!

OK, maybe "wrong" isn't the correct phrasing. How about....What sort of wacky event could be held for a good cause on International Surfing Day and have it be somewhat relevant and also have photos of the event in Life Magazine? Why, how about the fourth annual Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf-Dog Competition in Imperial Beach!! Behold!

Looking a little crowded there.
Um, what now? Yep! The Surf-Dog Competition is an event to help raise money for Modest Needs, a non-profit organization that works to prevent poverty. Sounds like a good cause and there's nothing wrong with that. However, there might be something wrong with this. Behold!

Buddy, a surfing Jack Russell Terrier

From Sign On San Diego we learn all about these surfing dogs and it's pretty much just like what it sounds like it's like. It's dogs. On surfboards. (And they don't all look like they're on those things voluntarily now, mind you.) And they're in the ocean. And they're surfing. Well, they're standing on the surfboard looking either afraid or perplexed. And as the waves move, so does the dog on the board, so I guess that yes, technically they are surfing. But it's only surfing in the same way that I'm dancing after I've stepped on a bee in my bare feet and start jumping around. Technically, yes. Officially, probably not.

I fully concur with the character Monica from 'Friends' as one of her biggest pet peeves is "animals dressed as humans." I, too, am not a fan. And this is more than just that. This is animals dressed as humans attempting to act like humans. I really don't think I can favor having four legged furry creatures on surfboards wearing sunglasses and Bermuda shorts. I'm really not sure why anyone would! Sure, they look cute and all. But then you see them for what they are (that being dogs on surfboards) and you realize they're kind of a little bit out of their natural habitat there. And you know, I think that dogs DO know when they're in a situation that they shouldn't be in. And I KNOW that they know when they look silly. Behold!

::: sigh :::

How exactly does a dog surfing competition work, you wonder? Seemingly all competitions lately go with the three judge panel, a la American Idol, and the Surfing Dog Competition was no exception. I picture them to be similar to the American Idol judges as well. I couldn't find any pictures of them, so I'm just guessing that it's most likely that there is a laid back, black guy who (appropriately enough) always says "Dawg!", a ditzy, probably drunk, likely pilled up, female and an acerbic Brit. But all of that is pure speculation on my part. Fortunately, I don't have to speculate about what is judged because according to Sign On San Diego
"Each dog gets a chance to catch three waves.They're scored on confidence level, length of ride and overall ability to hang to say.Money raised from the competition goes to Modest Needs."

Their "confidence level?" What determines their "confidence level"?! Would it be whether or not they have enough sense to realize that it's probably not worth the little Scooby Snack that they're going to get if they stay on the board? Do you want a dog that takes risks? I'm not so sure you do. Because one day he's just surfing in the ocean and the next day you find him in the garage trying to start your car! That's only a step or two away from walking fully upright, you know that don't you? I'm guessing the dogs below didn't exactly get "10s" for their "confidence level" score.

I'm thinking that the dogs who are really scared would score very high in the "overall ability to hang ten" category. In fact, clinging to the front of that board with my paws would be the first thing I'd do after I was placed atop the floating menace. You don't tempt the sea!

And just in case you're interested in putting your own dog through the rigors of outdoor water sports, there's the tell-all book A Dog's Guide To Surfing Hanging Ten with Man’s Best Friend. In a description of the book it tells us that "...surfers believe that dogs who learn to surf develop a unique attitude, knowing they have something that sets them apart from other dogs." Well, yes! Obviously! A dog that surfs IS set (or floated) apart from other non-surfing dogs! Yes, they are! Brilliant! If the rest of the book contains equally brilliant insights, I think I'd just play it safe and not "teach" my dog how to "hang ten". (They have four legs. How come they don't hang twenty?)

And I know it's for charity and that's a good thing. Please, feel free to donate to your favorite charity at will! I'm not anti-charity! I'm just saying that if they need to raise money through the wacky antics of canines, can't they choose something a little bit closer to the dog's own realm? Skateboarding perhaps? Roller blading? Billiards? I don't know. But you have to ask yourself, do the dogs really like doing these sorts of things, or do we just think that they do because they can't tell us that they don't? (It's a dog on a surfboard for cryin' out loud! It's gotta be ruff!)

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