A talented eight-year-old rescue dog is taking the beaches of California by storm by showing off her impressive surfing skills.
Incredible photos show Sugar hanging ten at Huntington Beach, California, a skill that she picked up not long after being rescued by her surfer owner Ryan Rustan, 39, in January 2011.
Other images show Sugar riding with her doggy pals, Kiwi and Titi, while also jumping onto a board with Ryan.
You go girl! Eight-year-old rescue dog Sugar regularly surfs with her owner in California
Ruling the waves! The adorable dog picked up the skill shortly after being rescued by her surfer owner Ryan Rustan, 39, in January 2011
Teamwork! Ryan, an athlete and recovering drug addict, found Sugar on the street when he was on a vacation
Teaching: A few months later, Ryan was hanging out at a family pool when he put Sugar on a boogie board – and realized she was incredibly skilled at balancing in water
The talented pooch was rescued by athlete and recovering drug addict Ryan, who was in an abusive relationship at the time and was struggling to find a connection with the world.
For years, Ryan struggled with substance abuse and by the time he was 27 years old he began his journey of sobriety after fixing up a truck and getting into a relationship.
Ryan was on vacation in January 2011, when he found Sugar wandering around on the side of the road, when he felt a sudden pull towards her. Something told him he had to take her in and look after her and he described the moment as life changing as she had pulled him out of the darkness.
It didn’t take long before Ryan fell in love with Sugar and decided to look after her full time after breaking up with his girlfriend and abandoning the truck. He finally found peace with Sugar.
One day, Ryan, who has come from a long line of surfers in his family, was playing with her when he put her on a boogie board in a paddling pool and began dragging it from side to side. He was impressed by the way she held her position and sat comfortably on it.
In May 2011, Ryan entered Sugar in her first championship surfing competition, where she came second and from then she has been on a wave of success with the sport. She has since won over 24 competitions including the Del Mar Surf Dog-a-thon, which she won three times in a row between 2015 and 2018.
Going places: In May 2011, Ryan entered Sugar in her first championship surfing competition, where she came second
Champion! She has since won over 24 competitions including the Del Mar Surf Dog-a-thon, which she won three times in a row between 2015 and 2018
Bond: Ryan, who was in an abusive relationship when he found Sugar, credits her with helping him to turn his life around
‘I got sober when I was 27 years old, after having a lot of issues I decided to change my life when I got the dream truck and got the beautiful girlfriend,’ Ryan said.
‘But both of those things were giving me issues too; the dream girl kept abusing me, the truck kept breaking down.
‘I found Sugar on the streets of Oakland, where we were on a little holiday there. A month after rescuing her, I abandoned my dream truck, the thing I never thought I’d ever let go of, as well as the girl of my dreams and kept the only one who loved me purely, Sugar.
‘We were visiting a family member and she was just running loose and looked frail, she looked really scared. I never even looked at a dog in my life, I never even cared about dogs.
‘My life just keeps getting better with Sugar in it; I just keep surfing with her. I come from a surfing family; this has always been a surf house. It’s always had this magic about it.
‘We have a pool across the street from my house, I took her over there for her birthday and there’s a boogie board. I didn’t even go there with the intention of teaching her how to surf, I just put her on top of the boogie board to see if she liked it.
‘I pushed her from one side to the other and as soon as she landed on the board, she sat down. She just looked back at me over her shoulder, like she’s saying, “That’s all you’ve got?” and I went to the other side and let her walk off.
‘We went home that day; I didn’t try to do anymore, I didn’t go crazy, but I had this feeling in my stomach. So, I went over a couple of days later and tried again, then that was it.
‘I have two other dogs too called Kiwi and C; they’re chihuahuas – they surf too.’
Heartwarming: ‘My life just keeps getting better with Sugar in it; I just keep surfing with her,’ Ryan said of his bond with the dog
Skills! The pup is not only able to stabilize herself on a surfboard; she also has the ability to control it. Leaning back helps her to slow down and she leans forward to pick up speed
True love: ‘I just love her so much. I’ve been single this whole time because of Sugar. I want this life with my dog. I don’t want to change a thing,’ Ryan revealed
Success: Sugar has collected 24 trophies for her professional status as a surfer and has even rivaled human surfers
Sugar and Ryan share the same birthday, June 14, and it was a mutual rescue as she had shown him how to love.
The pup is not only able to stabilize herself on a surfboard, but also has the ability to control it; leaning back on its tail helps her to slow down and she leans forward to pick up the speed.
Sugar has collected 24 trophies for her professional status as a surfer and has even rivaled human surfers.
‘Most of her accomplishments are first place. She’s a two-time event winner of the Ultimate Dog Challenge presented by Pro Plant,’ he said.
Partners: ’She’s just changed my whole life. Instantly she was a star. As soon as Sugar entered her first contest, she was a winner,’ Ryan said
‘In San Diego we do the Del Mar Surf Dog-a-thon and she was the winner of that three times in a row between 2015 and 2018.
‘I’ve never won anything; I’ve never won a gift, I never won a prize raffle, I’ve never won a surf contest, I’ve never amounted to anything.
‘I was on formal probation until I was twenty-seven years old. I never deserved to win anything. I was elated when Sugar won her first championship.
‘She’s just changed my whole life. Instantly she was a star. As soon as Sugar entered her first contest, she was a winner.
‘Everybody has soft boards – soft boards. What do I show up with? I show up with a rocket ship made of fibre glass. If we’re going to win this, we’re going to catch a bomb. That’s how you make these moments.
‘They changed dog surfing because of Sugar, and we’ve had a couple dogs who have tried to follow in her footsteps, but no dogs have ever been like [my] dogs – I love to admit it.
‘She’s looking straight in front of her towards the beach, she’s not looking behind. She’s not worried about the bucket twenty-foot wall of white water exploding. She’s triumphant, “We got this daddy.”
‘I just love her so much. I’ve been single this whole time because of Sugar. I want this life with my dog. I don’t want to change a thing.’
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