We Ayers family writer dogs of Surf Dog Diaries, started out as windsurfers on Mission Bay, back in the early 90's in San Diego. We graduated to surfing waves at Dog Beach, four dog generations ago.
For years, we called Ocean Beach home – one of the last true funky beach towns in So Cal. The heart and soul of OB is Dog Beach, where dogs and their people, from all over the world, play in sand and surf. We spent every waking moment hanging 20 toes at Dog Beach.
Every day is the same. You roll out of bed with bare feet or flip flops. You roll up to Roberto’s drive-through - a one-room barrel shaped taco stand- on your way to Dog Beach.
Your tiny dog toes tip-toe across 25-foot paw prints on the Dog Beach sidewalk. Then, tip-toe pass palm trees in the sand, surf dog sculptures and a drinking fountain where dogs and people can sip water at the same time. You have arrived - life begins again at Dog Beach.
Here's how it looks from above! Check it out on your next San Diego flight - look out the window while you are taking off!
Who were "we," the surf dogs, back then? Well, mom for one. And on the non human side of surf dogs, was our surf dog patriarch Howdy Doody. He was a bassador- a basset lab and he and mom did everything together.
Three dog generations later, I was later named after him - I'm Doodle. And in the middle was Dude, my beagle basset brother who just recently went to heaven.
But back to Howdy Doody - a wild child, a rogue runaway - that found himself through surfing. Howdy was abandoned as a puppy, chained to a wood pit, left outside as coyote bait. San Diego Humane Society rescued him. He was a cute little basset hound pup and was adopted a couple of times but it didn’t work out. The Humane Society label back then was “incorrigible pet.” Which is, of course, street cred for being a surfer, right?
Then he found our forever mom at the Humane Society. She says she laid eyes on Howdy across the long, dark hallway at closing time on a Saturday night at the doggie singles bar and they went home together. To Dog Beach, of course.
Howdy was a bassador – a basset/lab, with a long, golden body and super low rider legs, perfect for balancing on a surfboard. Who knew?
But Howdy had abandonment issues. He ran away every chance he could. And he hated being tied to the car as mom windsurfed away on Mission Bay.
So, when she came in for a break, he pulled off his leash and ran down to the water’s edge. He stepped up to the nose of the board. He turned to look back up the beach, at mom. Who got the message, even though she doesn't speak dog. At last, they could run away together.
And they became media super stars, to help promote Dog Beach.
Later, our dog/human family graduated to the big time of windsurfing – and moved to the Columbia River Gorge. This is the real deal – an inland surf community with gnarly huge winds and waves on the Columbia River, below towering Gorge cliffs and majestic Mount Hood.
This place attracts wind junkies and extreme athletes from all over the world. Good thing someone invented Standup Paddle boarding (SUP!) We sail here on mellow days and paddle board or hang out at Dog River beach the rest of the time. When we aren’t doing parades or hikes or fundraising events.
We still fly back to surf our old home beach, Dog Beach. Where Howdy’s name is stamped in the entryway plaque. The bassador was the Ambassador of our old home beach.
RIP Howdy - windsurfing season is here. Your legacy lives on!
- Dinky doxie Doodle, reporter for Surf Dog Diaries