Riding the surf Kazuhiro Tsukahara and Pinocchio
When the surf’s up, beach goers do a double take on Shonan beach in Japan as they watch Kazuhiro Tsukahara’s 6 year old Irish Setter Pinocchio, nicknamed “Pino” riding the waves in his customised wetsuit, on a specially adapted surfboard which allows him to dig in his claws to maintain balance so avoiding a “wipe out” even when riding big rolling waves.
Pino began swimming in the sea at 4 month old and when Tsukahara’s. friend joined them with a surfboard, Pino climbed aboard, lay down and surfed to the beach. He quickly developed a love for the sport and two years ago encouraged Tsukahara to ride along with him.
At the start of the journey Tsukahara paddles the board to a good place to catch a wave. Often Tsukahara climbs off and swims to shore while Pino rides solo, his red ears flapping in the breeze. He deftly avoids human surfers and when he arrives at the beach he jumps off the board and, with his tail wagging, waits for his master’s to return to the beach. When they surf together below the bridge that links the beach with Enoshima island, sightseers often cheer them on.
Pino wakes Tsukahara each morning and jumps for joy at the suggestion of surfing and together they hone their skills about 100 days a year. They have
become friends with more than 20 other owners of surfing dogs.
Pino competes in the animal class of the National Surfing Contest, The Mabo Royal Cup where the dogs are judged on their surfing style, surfboard skills and speed. Pino was placed third on his first attempt in 2009 and has subsequently won the competition four years in succession.
“Thanks to Pino, who mastered surfing, my world has spread, I am enjoying every day,” said Tsukahara
Kazuhiro Tsukahara and his surfing Setter, “ Pino”
(Source info from an article written by Northide Furusawa staff writer)