Meet “The Goatfather”: the California surfer riding waves with his pet goat
California surfer Dana McGregor has always loved the thrill of catching a wave, but he says it wasn’t until he took his pet goat surfing with him one day that he truly found his calling. “I got one goat to clear my poison oak in the backyard and I decided to take it surfing on my birthday and then, yeah, I just ended up surfing goats,” recalled McGregor, of the fateful day his goat surfing journey began almost ten years ago. McGregor, now 42-years-old, dedicates his life to teaching children how to surf and uses his goats to help them overcome their fears of the water. “I feel honestly called to bring joy to people and into people’s lives, and for some reason I got goats and for some reason I took them surfing, and for some reason I have a love for working with kids and it all works together really well,” said McGregor. “There’s a freedom in surfing that you can’t find just anywhere, you know, surfing is just a pure sport, it’s beautiful. It’s like you’re riding waves that God brings us, the bring healing and joy and freedom and peace into our lives so I want everyone to experience that,” he added. And the goats also seem to enjoy it too, judging by McGregor’s 8-year-old goat, Pismo, who seemed relaxed as he hit the waves on a large, inflatable surfboard, accompanied by McGregor, his friends and their children. “I think the kids see it (goat) and they’re like, wow, that’s incredible, like I can surf, you know? And it kind of takes away the fear of the ocean and the waves and the power behind it so I think it brings a lot of freedom to people,” explained McGregor, about the calming effect of goats have on children. Fresh off the surf, 10-year-old Mileah Robbins simply described the experience of surfing with a goat as “fun.” “It was really like fun because you get really watery but first when it’s your first time it feels scary but actually after you keep on doing it and doing it, it’s really fun,” she said. “The fun part about it is when you are scared and then you see other people do it and then you’re like wow, that’s not scary after all,” added 8-year-old Mirando Robbins, who also surfed with Pismo, the goat. McGregor runs surf and soccer camps from Pismo Beach, north of Santa Barbara, where he incorporates his pet goats, Pismo and Grover, into his lessons.