When you think Newfoundland, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t the perfect surfing partner. After a divorce in 2008, which left Colin Campbell struggling to cope, his friends suggested that he do something that that he had never done: adopt a dog. Enter George, a 140-pound Newfoundland, who Campbell rescued when he was just over a year old.
George was found homeless and abandoned, wandering rural Canada before being rescued by Campbell. Upon adoption Campbell described him as scared and unsure of everything, even men. Campbell thought that living alone in a big house in Toronto would be perfect home for a Newfie like George, who needed healing just as much as Campbell.
Newfoundlands are natural born swimmers. But it wasn’t until a year after adopting George and moving to California that he got to put his natural inclination to dive into the water to the test. Campbell says, “the first chance he got, George bolted for the water and tried to ‘rescue’ a confused surfer, as Newfoundlands were bred to do.” (Source)
So how did George learn to surf? Campbell thought George would merely swim beside him as he took to the waves, but George surprised him when he decided to hop on the board with Campbell! He was a natural, “he just stood there like a statue”, Campbell said. After encouragement to enter the Huntington Beach Surf City Surf Dog competition — and placing and receiving the people’s choice — George started to regularly compete in dog surf competitions between 2009 and 2010 before returning to Toronto.
Now Campbell has written a book about George titled, “Free Days With George”. The book chronicles George’s life from abandoned pup to local California surf celebrity and the life lessons that Campbell picked up while raising him. George is now 8-years-old and retired from professional surfing, but has his the road in a big way with “Free Days with George” out now.