Forget Fetch, Fido Wants To Surf

And we know just the guy to teach him how
BY: NEIL DOWN

It’s one thing to teach humans how to surf, but it’s quite another to teach animals. If that last part sounds made up, it’s not. Yes, animals really can surf, and Perry Abedor has been instructing Los Cabos critters how to hang ten for years.

Perry’s own surfing history goes back for most of his life. He’s been surfing for about 45 years, since he was six or seven years old. He was on the U.S. Surf Team in 2002 and 2003, and even went pro for awhile.

dogsurf_0.JPGHe first came down to Baja California Sur 13 years ago and he’s been living here full time for the last nine years. He lives at Cerritos Beach and you can usually find him at the surf shack in front of the surfing colony, giving surf lessons. He says he never intended for his job to go to the dogs, it just happened.

“I had a puppy and just started training her,” he says. “I would bring her out to the beach and start pulling her around on the body board. She ended up getting really good.”

Perry says that, at first, his dog was a bit afraid of the water, but she loved to play fetch. So, little by little, he would toss her sticks further out into the ocean until she learned to love the water.

Word spread about Perry’s dog training skills as friends started having him train their pets. And he doesn’t train just dogs, he’s worked with cats, too. He says he taught one cat who learned how to surf really well, and he’s training three little kittens right now. He has a baby pool that he pulls them around in on a body board to get them used to being in the water.

The main thing when it comes to teaching animals how to surf is to make sure they’re comfortable, not scared. “You don’t want to force them into it,” he says. And not all animals will want to learn how to surf; some never learn to like the water.

So, how exactly does an animal surf? The short answer is: with some help. Perry, who’s been working with the canine competitors of the Dog Surf Competition at Cerritos since it started four years ago, takes the animals out into the water. He brings treats to keep them occupied while they wait for the perfect waves, something like bacon that they can gnaw on.

And when that wave finally comes, Perry gets the animals into the right spot and pushes their board out so they can ride all the way to shore.

When it comes to teaching humans versus animals, he says it’s a toss up as to which one is easier to train. Humans can obviously take more instruction, but animals don’t second guess him.

If surfing sounds like something your dog or cat may want to learn, Perry is available to give them lessons. As for his fee, he says people can pay him whatever they feel like paying. He’s not into animal surf training for the money, after all. “I do it for the love,” he says, “to give back, and it’s fun. It’s fun for me and fun for them.”

To schedule a surf lesson for your pet, you can reach Perry by calling him at (612) 158-8961.