When California surfer Dana McGregor got an old goat named Goatee to help clear poison oak in his backyard, he didn't quite realize how it would change his life. Soon, he and Goatee became inseparable, so much so that the animal tagged along when McGregor went surfing at the beach.
One day, Goatee had enough of sitting on the sidelines, so McGregor and his friend, Ryan Valliere, decided to put the goat on a board. "She had really good balance," Valliere told the Los Angeles Daily News. "We were like, 'Let's push her into waves.'"
That day nearly a decade ago, which happened to be McGregor's birthday, sparked an entirely new concept. "I just ended up surfing goats," McGregor told Reuters.
Now, McGregor runs Surfing Goats, which teaches surfing in Pismo Beach by using Goatee's kids, Pismo and younger sister Grover. (Goatee died a few years back.)
The Surf Goat Day is a one-and-a-half to two-hour experience, which includes a surf lesson, board rental, tandem surf ride, and spin on the Rapture Party Wave Board. The class is open to all ages and experience levels. For those who prefer to stay on land, there's a one-and-a-half-hour Surf Goat Hike in Pismo Preserve. Guests will hit the trails with Pismo, as well as enjoy a game called GoatBall and a freshly squeezed shot of goat milk.
McGregor got the idea that Pismo could be good on the waves when the goat was "running around the house," he said in a YouTube video posted in 2013. "I just knew it was time for him to get in the water. After seeing him surfing a couple of times, I just knew he was a natural. It was obvious — I was like, this guy wants to be a big wave surfer." He trained the goat by putting him in a spa early on and teaching him to hold his breath underwater.
Since then, McGregor has also written children's books on the goats, including "The Surfing Goat Goatee" and "Pismo's Party Wave."
But when it comes down to it, it's all about Pismo's love of surfing. "He's just thankful to be out on the water and try new tricks and try bigger waves," McGregor said. "That's his goal."
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