Right now, on a beach in Florida, there’s a man teaching dogs to surf, charging $60 an hour.
The mans name is Sam Chiet and his unusual business venture, which he runs along with his mother Shellie, is called Surfur Dogs and has been up and running for four years.
“Sometimes they jump off the board. They leap on my head. A few take off down the beach. But they calm down. That’s part of the fun,” he told the Palm Beach Post.
Chiet has taught a whole variety of canines since he started, ranging from chihuahuas that could fit in a shoe box, to a bull mastiff that weighed almost 10 stone! He begins each lesson by fitting the dogs with a life jacket and paddling them about 30 metres out to sea, before gently guiding them into their first waves. Apparently it usually takes about three lessons for the dog to feel comfortable, before which they presumably bloody hate it.
“It’s tough for anyone to balance on a surfboard. To get a dog with four paws to balance is really tough. Sam is a very mellow and chill person. He makes the dogs, and their owners, feel comfortable,” said Sam’s mum Shellie who takes snaps and videos of the dogs during the lessons.
His primary business is training dogs up for the inaugural ‘Hang 20 Surf Dog Classic’ which is set to take place on August 26th, just up the coast from where Chiet runs his training programme. The event, which is currently in its third year, has proved remarkably popular, seeing over 2000 spectators turn out to watch 75 dogs compete across five categories (small, medium, large, SUP and dogs owned by military veterans). It is organised by Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic & Ranch in Jupiter to raise money and awareness for their organisation.
Sam hopes to one day turn Surfur Dogs into his full time job, claiming that America’s obsession with dogs will help fuel business.
“I love dogs. I love to surf. People love their dogs so much. I think I can make it happen,” he said optimistically.
Cover photo: Furry Friends Adoption, Clinic & Ranch