Kihei and his surf competitors were featured on Good Morning America. It was the Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge held on May 29 – 30, 2015. This event features the “best of the best” in dogs competing for top honors in their own type of doggie olympics. There were seven categories… Agility, Diving Dog, Fetch It, Freestyle Flying Disc, Jack Russell Hurdle Races, 30 Weave Up and Back and Surfing. It was a honor and privilege to participant in, and watch this two-day event. The weather was gorgeous, blue skies and perfect almost-summer beach weather. The surfing venue was held at the river mouth at the south end of Huntington State Beach. Perfect three – four footers worked their way onto shore, breaking and reforming again and again, allowing the dogs and their surfboards to navigate all the way into shore. State beach lifeguards in their bright yellow rash guards assisted the dogs in and out of the water, springing into action, retrieving the pups ride after ride. On shore, the crowds of people cheered for their favorite surfing dogs. It was a pawsome day surfing. Up in the parking lot at the main venue, bleachers were filled with people and dogs, young and old, “oo-ing” and “ahh-ing” for the competitors. The main stage doubled as a diving dock with a huge screen to watch the live feed and instant replays for those close calls and misses. It was entertaining to watch the workers as they unfolded and broke down one event to the next onto the grassy arena. Poles, pads, giant accordion pleated vacuum hose tunnels including a giant swimming pool, were just some of the equipment needed to make up the courses. The agility course required a lot of equipment including a giant teeter-totter, A-frame ramps and weave poles. During the luncheon, a Purina official welcomed the competitors and spoke to us about Purina’s mission, their new food formulas, how the sod, used to build the grassy arena, will be donated to a local school and the water, used to create the dock diving pool, will be used to water the local public plants at the beach. To be green and eco-friendly was part of their mission. It was a lively atmosphere, fun and exciting and competitive in a dog friendly way. Purina Pro Plan and Carson Events did an outstanding job in my mind. Dogs and pet owners of all shapes and sizes came together transcending into a perfect pawsitive moment in time. The Purina Pro Plan Incredible Dog Challenge was INCREDIBLE.
…and sometimes it’s not in the water. The weather was cold with patchy clouds, a breeze, and water temps in the low 60s. Michelle was feeling cold, and without a full wetsuit she would be uncomfortable. I suggested we shop for one so she could feel warmer in the water. If you are surfing in cold water, like in California most months out of the year, it’s important to have a good wetsuit. We hit the local surf outlet and right away we found a suit within her budget. I headed toward the dressing room figuring she was going to try it on. Nope, she said it would fit, and didn’t need to try it on there, she would try it on at home. Astonished, I advised her to try it on at the store because not all wetsuits fit the same. Unless you get a customized wetsuit, there are many styles and shapes on the market nowadays to purchase off the rack. And, if it didn’t fit right, she’d have to make a trip back to return it and that would be a waste of her time and energy. Finally, I coaxed her into the dressing room. I handed her the suit and demonstrated that the zipper goes in the back, how the velcro closures work and stepped outside of the dressing room. I waited patiently for her to slip it on, listening, I heard the pulling and tugging snap of wetsuit as she went through the motions of wriggling it on. I asked her if her arms and hands were in and stepped back inside the dressing room to help her with the back zipper. Finally it was on, the ordeal was over. Immediately, I noticed the gaps and looseness in the legs and the arms. It wasn’t a perfect sealing fit and explained that water will seep in through these gaps and not create a warm layer. I suggested trying on other styles and pulled several off the rack for her to give it another go around. This time it was a success! She tried on a suit that fit like a glove, snug around the ankles and wrists with no gaps, like a 2nd skin. It was flexible and within her budget too. She saw the difference immediately and I was happy to see she was satisfied. One last demonstration, how to grab the back zipper pull and zip it down. It’s all about baby steps, and a firm foundation for building and developing the skills for a better and safe surfing experience. Good for you Michelle!
Wetsuit care tips:
1. Take care in putting it on and taking it off. Cinch it on along the way starting from the ankles on up. When taking it off peel it off carefully. No extreme tugging or pulling.
2. Give a good rinse with water. Don’t use harsh detergents it will break down neoprene.
3. Let it dry out in the shade not in the sun. Do not put it in the dryer it will break down the neoprene.
4. Hang it carefully in half at the waist. Don’t hang by the shoulder or collar it will stretch out your suit and breakdown the neoprene.