Furry Instructor: How Goats Train California Surfers
On an inflatable surfboard in the clear waters of California, aspiring surfers Rebeca Aburn and Elizabeth French take to the waves under the scrutiny of their unusual instructor, a little black goat named Chupacabra. The publication told how animals teach surfers in California The Straits Times.
This one-year-old ruminant has become an integral part of their lessons at Pismo Beach, effortlessly demonstrating the relaxed posture needed to ride through the churning foam.
“Goat is a much better surfer than I am,” Abern laughs. “She has a pose, and it’s clear that she’s done this before.” It’s obvious that she likes it.”
The presence of Chupacabra on a surfboard is the idea of instructor Dana McGregor, who ten years ago decided to try his idea with goats.
After all, dogs have been surfing in California for a long time - they even have their own world championship - but they are not as stable on their feet.
An animal that easily runs up and down shaky mountain slopes is much better suited to the task.
“They have incredible balance,” he said. “They have hooves that allow them to cling to the board.”
McGregor's relationship with goats could have turned out very differently.
In 2011, he purchased one to help clear his mother's garden of toxicodendron and other weeds.
Once the vegetation was gone, the goat had to become a barbecue.
But the problem with having a cute animal around—especially the one you named—is that it can be quite tasteless to eat.
“I just became attached to her,” he says.
This affection led to the idea of celebrating your birthday by taking a goat surfing with you. Man and beast climbed onto the board and rushed into the waves.
“I just felt heaven on earth, as if something supernatural had happened,” McGregor says. “I thought this animal would never have the opportunity to surf.”
Over the years, McGregor, a former major league football player, has had several goats with whom he has had aquatic adventures.
They have also appeared in YouTube videos and even appeared in two children's books, and McGregor himself was given the local nickname "Father Goat".
“My calling is to bring joy to people. And it happens through goats and through surfing,” he says. “People find inspiration in this.”
McGregor is a well-known figure in his city of 8000 and is accompanied by goats almost everywhere – in a car with an SRFGOAT license plate.
In the ocean, these animals have a calming effect on beginner surfers.
“When you first start surfing, you are very focused on things like: Are my feet in the right place? Am I all right? says Abern, who works as a crop insurance agent. “But when the goat is there, he’s just confident and moves forward.” And you think you can too.”
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Sometimes the goats even surprise McGregor.
Pismo, a white-haired "wave expert", managed to stay on her feet after her owner lost his footing in a two-meter wave, and continued to ride alone.
If she succeeds, McGregor thinks one day the goat will be able to overcome the greatest challenge of surfing - a barrel wave when a wave crashes down on a surfer from above.
Surfing in a tube “is just an amazing feeling,” he said.
“A goat inside a pipe would be epic,” McGregor added.
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