Saint and Kat
Kathleen "Kat" Yeung is an attractive 27 year-old Phlebotomist and Cal Poly student, in San Luis Obispo, CA, who frequently surfs California's breaks with her beautiful Golden Retriever dog named Saint Christopher. On June 14, 2007, I spent a whole day photographing Kat and her dog Saint at Morro Bay, CA just to see how well Saint surfs. Saint was born on July 19th, 2004... so he's almost three years old now... but has been ripping the waves with Kat since he was just a few months old. Saint's experience shows. Saint's best ride ever was today during our photo shoot. With just a little help, Saint paddled all the way out to the line-up and caught a huge triple overheader for Saint's size.... and rode it all the way into the sand.
Surfing and Partying
In addition to Morro Bay, Saint has surfed quite a few other beaches, including nearby Cayucos, Pismo beach, and Shell Beach. No dogs are allowed at nearby Montaņa De Oro State Park, or Saint would be out there too. Saint has surfed Big Sur (Sand Dollar), Ocean Beach (San Francisco), Jalama Beach (Santa Barbara County), Pleasure Point (Santa Cruz), and Blacks Beach( San Diego). Saint's favorite beaches, however, are Morro Bay and Pismo Beach. Saint favors Pismo Beach because the pier there always lines up with adoring onlookers - which Saint just soaks up. At Morro Bay, Saint was non unaware of my 600mm lens focused on him all day long... he would occasionally look up at me, but then pretend not to be aware. Saint's most dangerous ride was going out in winter at Shell Beach on a double overhead day. He hates eating those pebbles! Saint's longest surf session was at Jalama Beach. I asked Kat about Saint's worst wipeout... and she admits that it happens all the time, but said "I've never seen him complain." Saint especially loves the right breaks.... "he kind of always goes right, but he'll go with any wave. He's surfed backwards a few times, but now he'll turn toward the nose while catching a wave." Saint's best barrel was getting tubed in Santa Cruz's Avenues... a.k.a. Hooks. Saint's favorite board was stolen off the 101 last summer when it flew off one of Kat's friend's car -- an 8'2" Wave Weapon made in San Diego -- a blue and white striped beauty with a fish and Hawaiian Plumeria designs. Saint has been known to stay out all night partying... Kat has surfed Baja's La Bufadora, Del Mar, San Miguel, and Salsipuedes, and said that last year, "Saint took off while rocket scientist Gene the Russian was lighting the fireworks... M5000s, around our campsite. Gene ended up looking for him all night. The girls looked all morning, and I looked along the freeway. No sign. Until we packed our cars at noon, Saint finally came up all bedraggled and happy. He'd lost his collar. Then a couple on an ATV comes up and says, 'Hey, there's our amigo.' I asked, 'YOU KNOW THIS DOG?' 'Yeah, he was at our house last night for twenty minutes.' 'Where's his collar?' I wondered. I figured if he'd lost his collar, it's like losing his shirt, if he were to lose one partying all night long. That party animal, making friends everywhere." Other surf spots Kat frequents include Santa Barbara's Mill Street, Coronado & Blacks Beach, San Francisco, Pacifica, Surf beach, Oceano, Avila Beach, Montaņa De Oro, Shell Beach. Kat never surfed in Hawaii even she was born there and visited a few times.... "the waves weren't pumping when I was island hopping."
Friends and Likes
Saint's best friend is Kat. You can tell they are in love. Saint's ex-girlfriend, a black lab/pit named Piyar recently passed away, and Saint is just getting used to a Pit named Sandy. Saint's favorite food is filet mignon.
Therapy Dog, Volunteer, and
When Saint is not surfing, he volunteers at French Hospital where he's getting certified as a therapy dog, and hopes to do hospice care, and as well as put in time at the Port San Luis, CA, Avila Beach Marine Institute. In fact, Saint is a big fundraiser for a variety of noble causes. Kat got Saint from a co-worker and great friend, Rodil Del Los-Reyes and his family. Kat said "I got Saint as a gift when my father was dying of cancer. Saint is my therapy dog, since I've been through a lot of turmoil. I've lived in a domestic violent household, and I've held a lot of resentment against my parents... but Saint has taught me a lot of patience and forgiveness. I think he's very Buddhist."
Kat and Saint are a fund-raising duo. Kat and Saint volunteer at the Women's Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo County, CA.... to help stop domestic violence and watch over kids. Kat is spreading the word about centralcoastsmiles.com where they're fund raising by offering half off on teeth whitening where the proceeds all go to the Women's Shelter. On Sunday September 9, 2007, the Helen Woodward Animal Center will have had its 2nd Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon down in Del Mar, CA. The funds raised are used to support all the programs at the Helen Woodward Animal Center. You can make a small pledge before any annual event, for each wave Saint rides, at http://surfdog.kintera.org/, or make a donation anytime http://animalcenter.org/donate/.
Kathleen "Kat" Yeung - age 27 - (year of the lamb; last name is Cantonese for lamb; Virgo; and first name is Gaelic for purity) Kat says "ironic eh? My friends don't think I'm that angelic, but I do get away from speeding tickets now and then." People love to watch Saint surf, and are often are so taken by surprise that when meeting Kat they don't know what to say so they will ask "Does Saint surf?" That's pretty funny. Another question that Kat gets all the time is "What is your dog's name." ... so she used to shave his name on his side. Kat would like to train Saint to push the pedals on a mountain bike, but "there's not one with a comfy seat for him yet." Kat says that Saint's waits patiently watching her Organic Chemistry buddies study and that Saint's quite inquisitive. When Kat says "let's go surfing" Saint just hears "let's go..." and he's up and running to the door.... or he'll see Kat carrying her board across the room to put away in the middle of the night... and he's all ready at the door. The day after our photo shoot, Kat went skydiving. "I wished he went skydiving with me, I loved it. I liked it so much I went again, right after the next group. I even got to go before the last two girls got to go once because they chose a lower level at 10,500 ft." Kat also does rock climbing, mountain biking, fishing, and running. Kat's indoor passion is the violin... but claims she does not have the time to practice a half-hour every day - I can't imagine why? Kat's favorite beach is Jalama (Little bundles in Chumash... in Santa Barbara County....near the Ranch). Kat loves to cook - her Dad was a Chef. She is partial to pineapple shrimp curry, and Pad Thai, cook seafood doused in wine laid over noodles. Kat says "I also like to make Tiramisu. Stir fry is the best. But above all, top ramen stir fry." Kat is a Phlebotomist at French Hospital in San Luis Obispo, CA (full time) and is going back to Cal Poly to study biological Sciences (and to concentrate on Marine sciences). Of her work, Kat says "love it. I meet the whole community. I love SLO county!" Earlier, Kat was a mechanical engineering student for three years at Cal Poly and studied biochemistry for two years (due to my interest in beer brewing), and also dabbled in journalism at Cuesta.
Related photos by Michael "Mike" L.
Baird - bairdphotos.com
There is now one Flickr collection containing all of the sets of Saint photos, at http://flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/collections/72157601343539100/
9/8/07 See a related article at http://www.ksby.com/Global/story.asp?S=7042211
9/11/07 See http://www.inspirationaldogs.com/inspiring_stories for an article that was published, with permission, based on my above article.
9/11/07 Update KSBY's "Morro Bay surfing dog wins third place at the Surf-Dog-A-Thon competition" http://www.ksby.com/Global/story.asp?S=7054456
NEW 9/11/07 See photos from the 9/9/07 2nd Annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon at http://www.photogallerybymichael.com/HWAC_SURFDOG_07/HWAC_SURFDOG_07.htm including a photo of Saint on his short board and another
9/13/07 More photos from Surf
and also watch this video. http://www.veoh.com/videos/v1131308HA24NeHf