Surf Dog Ricochet Brings Joy To Kids With Spinal Muscular Atrophy

By

451 Words 3-Minute Listen
Bailey preparing to go surfing with Ricochet (Photo Credit: surfdogricochet.com)

Three-year-old Bailey suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a medical condition that affects the spinal cord’s motor nerve cells. As a result, she is unable to sit, stand, crawl, or walk on her own. She also can’t swallow food efficiently or breathe without the help of a machine. But thanks to Surf Dog Ricochet (and some human volunteers), Bailey and a few other kids suffering from SMA recently did what most children their age only dream of — go surfing!

The surfing expedition took place on San Diego’s beautiful beaches on August 19 at the Cure SMA event held to raise awareness and research funds for the disease, which currently has no cure. The young surfers, many of whom cannot even hold their head up, were placed on a specially-made bath chair that was attached to the surfboard. Then, with Surf Dog extraordinaire Ricochet by their side, the kids set off on an adventure like none other they had experienced in their young lives.

Five-year-old Logan enjoying a wave with Ricochet (Photo Credit: surfdogricochet.com)

While kids like Bailey who has the most severe Type I SMA were kept closer to shore, those with more mobility were allowed to venture out further into the sea under the watchful eyes of Ricochet and a human volunteer. Among them were Logan, Amy, and Bailey’s sister, Riley. These five-year-olds all suffer from the slightly milder, Type II SMA.

Not every surfer that day was a child. 23-year-old Robin, who has Type II SMA and is too weak to hold her head up, was accompanied on the surfboard by her brother, who appeared to enjoy the event as much as she did.

23-year-old Robyn and her brother enjoying the water (Photo Credit: Surfdogricochet.com)

Ricochet, or Rip Curl Riki, as she is often called, began training to be a service dog when she was just a puppy. But while the golden retriever was a natural at learning then necessary skills, it soon became apparent that she wasn’t quite cut out for a career as a service dog. That’s because Ricochet loves to chase birds and other small animals, almost as much as she likes helping humans. Fortunately, her owner, Judi Fridono, discovered Ricochet’s natural talent for surfing and decided to use it to help disabled people.

Ricochet's first surfer buddy was quadriplegic surfer Patrick Ivison. The initial plan was to have the two surf alongside each other. However, Ricochet abandoned her board and jumped on Patrick’s for some tandem surfing. This turned out to be a good idea given that it not only reassured Ivison, but also provided much-needed counterbalance on the board. Since then, SURFice dog Ricochet has introduced hundreds of physically challenged kids to the joy of surfing and also helped fundraise thousands of dollar for several worthy causes!

Resources: surfdogricochet.com.

Cite Article
760 Comments
  • tubbee
    tubbeeabout 1 month
    This is so sweet <3
    • neonala0620
      neonala06206 months
      omg this is the cutest thing ever
      • s-dog101
        s-dog1018 months
        aaawwww!!!!! that is so cool! I think its better for her to surf and love what she's doing than what she can't do! my dog hates the water so I guess he's never doing that. 😝
        • simply
          simply11 months
          This will make so many people gather hope in their lives. <333
          • wolfy_blue
            wolfy_blueabout 1 year
            ive seen people surf but dogs?? thats crazy and amazing
            • zu0113
              zu0113over 1 year
              Aww this gives me hope
              • coolvae
                coolvaeabout 1 year
                that dog can serf. I am proud of her. i love her so much.
              • bobby the flyabout 2 years
                these dogs are so nice
                • gibsyabout 2 years
                  THAT DOG IS SO SO SO AWSOME AND AMAZING
                  • Mellabout 2 years
                    That dog is osem reley
                    • bobyabout 2 years
                      wow just grate I was suprised