By Omar Younis
SAN CLEMENTE, California, March 22 (Reuters) - As cheering children and men frantically paddle their inflatable surfboard through the frothy Pacific waves onto the beach, one passenger placidly sits in the bow taking it all in - a large, white goat.
California surfer Dana McGregor has always loved the thrill of catching a wave, but 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 I just ended up surfing goats," recalled McGregor of the day his goat-surfing journey began almost ten years ago.
McGregor, 42, now teaches children how to surf from Pismo Beach, north of Santa Barbara, using his pet goats Pismo and Grover to help them overcome their fear of the water.
"When it's your first time it feels scary but actually after you keep on doing it and doing it, it's really fun," said 10-year-old Mileah Robbins, fresh from riding a wave with eight-year-old Pismo.
The goats seem to enjoy it too, judging by Pismo's relaxed expression as he hit the waves.
"There's a freedom in surfing that you can't find just anywhere," said McGregor, hugging his goats as they stand on the boardwalk, attracting attention from children and other passers-by.
"You're riding waves that God brings us, that bring healing and joy and freedom and peace into our lives so I want everyone to experience that."
(Reporting by Omar Younis; Writing by Karishma Singh; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)
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