After a chance meeting Mike and Abbie bonded over their love of the beach and surfing. Hours spent in the waves translated into an unbreakable bond of trust as well as surfing success for the tenacious team.
After learning to surf, Abbie medalled in every competition she entered and even set a new Guinness World Record for longest wave surfed by a dog — an impressive 107 metres.
Initially considered a novelty, dog surfing competitions have transformed into a recognised sport with Abbie and Mike at the top of the game for many years.
Custom fibreglass boards are now common among surfer dogs as are special wetsuits which provide more buoyancy.
In fact, Abbie’s favourite wetsuit borrows technology from US Navy SEALs to ensure a lightweight suit which lets her move freely on the board. Dog surfboards feature a softer fin to absorb some of the turbulence that would not be an issue for a human surfer.
Abbie’s engine also has to be fine turned. Mike has discovered that if he is too thin he doesn’t float easily and if he is too heavy he weigh’s down the board.
Proof that just like in other parts of their life, Mike and Abbie are a true team who’s success in intrinsically entwined.
Although Abbie’s success has not come without hard work and training, Mike does credit Abbie’s breed for some of her surfing talent.
As he told the ABC “Kelpies are great because they have natural balance, so she kind of has an advantage. Abbie was nicknamed “Outback Abbie” by the dog surf community, as she used to be the only dog to come from the outside and ride clean, open waves before they broke.”
Now 14 years old Abbie is beginning to slow down. In October 2020 she underwent double spinal surgery that includes a laminectomy. In recent years she has been losing the ability to walk. Mike tried to avoid surgery as it will impact her longevity, however without it she will be unable to walk and control lower body functions.
After what was a harrowing time for poor Mike and Abbie we are pleased to report that Abbie’s operation went well and she is now on the road to recovery. She is even sporting a fancy back brace with an ocean motif. Her vet and surgeon are both surfers.
You can follow Mike and Abbie’s journey on Facebook at AbbieSurfs