By, Katy Cable - A 4 min. read
Growing up and now living at the beach in So Cal, surfing is a staple of our lifestyle. Rain or shine, young and old jump on their boards. Before, after (and sometimes even DURING 😜) school or work, the Wedge is as crowded as Starbucks! Even our dogs get in the action! And while it’s not uncommon to see a lab riding on a surfboard, a little Pug surfing, -that’s a phenomenon!
Surf Gidget the Pug, does just that! If you’ve been lucky enough to witness this wonder-pug shredding the waves, you’ll likely never forget it! Known as “the pug in pink” with her custom pink surfboard, matching wetsuit, life vest and hat, Gidget defeats the law of gravity (and her Pug DNA) that dictates she sink like a stone in H2o, and has become a world champion SURF DAWG!
I’ve just had the thrill of a lifetime accompanying Gidget on a whirlwind trip to Galveston, Texas where she appeared as the celebrity guest at the Ohana Surf Dog Contest and surf clinic benefiting the Galveston Island Humane Society.
I could put a bone-in rib-
eye steak on the end of a surf board and my pug Olive wouldn’t go near it, so it was hard to believe any Pug would actually ENJOY surfing. But that is exactly the case with Gidget.
I was absolutely amazed! Through flight delays, sweltering heat, late nights, early mornings and a full schedule of appearances, Gidget was a perfectly mannered Pug. It wasn’t until she was kept at the water’s edge for photos instead of getting to surf with the other dogs, that she began to wail at the top of her lungs like a pig being slaughtered. Once released, she began jumping on any board she could find in an effort to get out in the waves and surf.
And surf she does! Gidget rides waves forward, backwards and sideways effortlessly. She’s relaxed and happy walking the length of her board, turning, shaking her cute curly tail, and cruising in to shore. Once there, she quickly jumps back on the board wanting another go.
The beautiful long beaches of Galveston, with fine white sand and gentle waves provide a perfect setting for beginning surfers. -Both human and canine. And who better to demonstrate and give a few pointers than Surf Gidget The Pug herself. Most who came out for a lesson, took to the sport quite easily and were riding waves in less time than it takes for me to find my car keys.
Gidget was thrilled demonstrating to those teaching their dogs how to surf. She enjoyed riding tandem (with both humans and dogs) and always remained calm even when they lost their balance and wiped out!
The weekend’s events were just a fun adventure for Gidget. Her pro-competition season runs through the end of September. Gidget will “hang 12” with the world’s top dogs on open face waves as large as 4-5ft. (Safety is first priority, and with Gidget weighing less than 20lbs, she avoids larger waves and conditions that could be dangerous.)
In just a few years, this 5 year-old pug has become a worldwide surfing star. She holds a room full of medals and trophies for wins at top surfing events including the Purina Pro-Plan®️ Ultimate Surf Dog Challenge where she competes with dogs double her size and weight.
Gidget was originally living a calm, quiet life in Maine but her family realized they couldn’t care for this darling spit-fire puppy. Alecia Nelson, Gidget’s pug mommy, literally JUMPED at the chance to adopt her!
In an effort to bond with Gidget and release all her excess puppy energy, Nelson, an avid athlete herself, immediately started training her in dog agility. It worked! Gidget flourished as an athlete.
Nelson, who herself grew up surfing the beautiful beaches of Malibu, put Gidget on a SUP board when she was just 9 months old. Gidget’s agility and balance made her a natural and she loved being out on the water.
Nelson returned to her hometown of So Cal, when Gidget turned 2. The first thing she did was take Gidget to the famous Del Mar Dog Beach, put her on a surf board and see what she thought of riding waves. -And the rest is history. Surfing became her most favorite activity.
It was love-at-first-wave, and the world ADORES Gidget! She’s been featured in dozens of magazine articles and TV shows. A favorite was having Cesar Milan’s son Andre, teach his pug, Sugar how to surf, for a special on Nat Geo Wild! Gidget has waddled the red carpet at many film festivals and rubbed noses with some of her own surf idols such as: Kelly Slater, Bethany Hamilton, Mick Fanning, Josh Brolin, Jeff Bridges, and Belinda Carlisle from “The Go-Go’s”
And while watching Gidget is certainly fun, she is doing so much more than just entertaining fans and leading the life of a PUG-lebrity. Gidget’s using her fame to do an ocean of good for “underdogs” by surfing and appearing at events. She has a new video game where kids can help Gidget pick up trash and keep the oceans clean. Proceeds from “Gidget-Gear” (her line of holistic, natural pet products and apparel) benefit various dog rescues, environmental and social causes near and dear to her heart.
If you’re lucky you can catch Gidget cruising the California coast all summer long. Look for her custom-wrapped “Surf Gidget” Sprinter van complete with her own electric convertible car and sWAG. Come say “Hi!” I promise she’ll make your day a whole lot brighter.
Gidget is always just a click away on social media, (@SurfGidgetThePug) where her nearly 100K followers see her surfing, hanging at the beach, chillin’ with her friends or favorite chew toy.
Not many people can say they learned to surf from a champion surfing Pug, and I will never forget my exciting weekend with Gidget. She’s one very special little Pug who put a smile on the face of everyone she met, and melted their hearts. -Especially mine💕🐾
Nelson, who runs a doggy day care and training facility (ItsADogsLifeAcademy.com) offers some excellent tips to pet parents thinking of trying some surfing with their dog:
🐾🤙🏻Surf Gidget’s Surfing Tips:🤙🏻🐾
1. While some breeds are natural “water-dogs”, pugs and brachy (flat-faced) are not. Dogs should begin familiarizing themselves with SUP boards in pools or calm waters before ever trying out waves.
2. Dogs can get sunburns and cancers. -Especially short coated, light dogs. (Gidget is a rare white Pug.) The best protection is to stay out of sun during peak hours and on extremely hot days. Always cover your dog with rash guards, hats, goggles and pet-safe sunscreen.
3. Always use a life vest with a chin support at all times!
4. Use good judgement. Waves and conditions can change as often as Donald Trump tweets. Stay out of the water if surf, rip-currents, jellyfish, etc. are taking down the pros and the lifeguards are working OT!
5. Make sure you have a well-trained, obedient dog who has agility and balance before attempting surfing. Make sure you train with someone knowledgeable. Surfing can be an extremely difficult and dangerous sport.
6. While Gidget loves the water and waves, some dogs, (like my Olive,)-DO NOT! If your dog puts on the brakes the minute a ball goes into the water, chances are surfing will not be a good fit. Start with a kiddie pool and work your way up.
Katy Cable is a former actress appearing in “Back To The Future” and starring in the TV series: “Safe At Home” & “ Fired Up!” In addition to her dog health & lifestyle blog/vlog: The Weekly Runt, (https://www.weeklyrunt.com/) she’s a contributing writer to numerous publications including Thrive Global, & The Huffington Post. Cable lives at the beach with her husband, Rick and her rescue Pug, Olive.