Surf Dog Ricochet!

Surf Dog Ricochet

Our guest will be Judy Fridono, who has raised and trained Ricochet as part of Fridono’s non-profit 501(c)3 organization, Puppy Prodigies Neo-Natal & Early Learning Program. The organization trains dogs to be service dogs for people with disabilities.

Ricochet (born January 25, 2008), is a female Golden Retriever dog from San Diego who helps people with disabilities through surfing and community outreach.[1] Ricochet’s popularity on social media originated from a video of her surfing with a boy who is quadriplegic that was posted on YouTube. As of May 22, 2016, the video has more than 12.5 million views on YouTube and Facebook.[2]

When Ricochet was 8 weeks old, she climbed on a boogie board in a kiddie pool and was able to balance on her own.[3][4][5][6] She has been surfing ever since. She started entering surf dog contests in 2010. On June 10, 2011, she surfed with surf pro, Taylor Knox.[7] On June 16, 2012 she surfed with actor, Cameron Mathison in the Loews Coronado Bay Resort surf dog contest and won 2nd place.[8] In August 2012 Ricochet surfed with a goat named Pismo.[9] On July 20, 2014 she surfed with surf pro Rob Machado.[10]

Ricochet is also the canine ambassador for surfers with disabilities and referred to as a SURFice dog, because she surfs with kids with special needs, people with disabilities, wounded warriors & veterans with PTSD as an assistive aid.[9]

Early life[edit]

Ricochet surfing with Jo.jpg

Ricochet was raised and trained by Judy Fridono as part of Fridono’s non-profit 501(c)3 organization, Puppy Prodigies Neo-Natal & Early Learning Program. The organization trains dogs to be service dogs for people with disabilities. She started training to be a service dog but as she grew, her instinct for chasing birds and other wildlife increased and she was dropped from the program.[11] On August 20, 2009, she jumped on a surfboard with a 14-year-old boy named Patrick Ivison who is quadriplegic.[12]

Ricochet was 15 months old when she started her competitive dog surfing career at the Purina Incredible Dog Challenge Surf Dog competition, where she won third place.[4] Ricochet went on to win additional Purina Surf Dog contests as well as contests held by the Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Surf Dog Surf-a-thon,[13] Loews Coronado Bay Resort Surf Dog Contests (now known as Unleashed By Petco’s Surf Dog Contests)[14] and Surf City Surf Dog surf contests.[15]

Canine Research[edit]

Ricochet is involved in dog-human communication research with Dr. Brian Hare at the Duke University Canine Cognition Center.[16] In May 2015, Ricochet appeared in Nat Geo Wild’s “Is Your Dog A Genius” hosted by Dr. Hare. In this show, Dr. Hare explained canine cognition and how Ricochet uses empathy (the ability to understand and share the feelings of others) while identifying, responding and communicating with veterans who have PTSD.[17]

Community Outreach[edit]

Ricochet and Randy.jpg

Since Ricochet’s video went viral she has turned the attention into a platform for raising awareness and funds for human and animal causes.[18] She has appeared at many community events in the San Diego area. She has served as the Grand Marshal at the Navy Woof Walk in 2014 and 2015.[19]

She is an ambassador for Pay It Forward Day,[20] The Best Day Foundation,[21] Life Rolls On[22] and Team PossAbilities para-Olympic team.[23] She has held more than 150 fundraisers and donated funds to more than 250 different causes.[24]

Ricochet does therapy dog work with active duty military service members who have PTSD, traumatic brain injuries and other disabilities as a result of combat.[25] She also started a PTSD Battle Buddy initiative with one of the soldier’s she worked with, retired Staff Sergeant Randy Dexter.[26] She is also active with the Jimmy Miller Memorial Foundation’s Ocean Therapy program,[27] wounded warriors,[28] and challenged athletes foundation.[29] Ricochet has an extraordinary and powerful ability to intuitively and empathetically identify and alert to the emotional and physical changes of the individuals she interacts with. This ability allows for remarkable healing interventions.[30]

She is an advocate for anti-bullying,[31] and was featured on ABC for her ability to take commands from a synthesized voice on an iPad from children with autism.[32]

Ricochet is also a canine good citizen, registered therapy dog with Therapy Dogs Incorporated, a certified therapy dog with Paws’itive Teams and has the highest therapy dog title with the AKC. As of April 24, 2015, she has raised over $457,000.[33]


“SURFice Dog”[34] and “Ricochet” are registered service marks.[35]

Health Communications Inc approached Fridono about writing a book about Ricochet. In June 2014, Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope With the Dog Who Inspires Millions was published.[36] The book was released in paperback in May 2015, and a Japanese edition has also been published in Japan.[37][38] Ricochet also appears in 13 other books, including A Year With National Geographic: Yearbook 2014, Animals and the Kids Who Love Them, The Power of Wagging Tails, A Book of Miracles,Devoted, Surf Dog Miracles, San Diego North Coast and Daisy to the Rescue.

Ricochet’s merchandise includes calendars, T-shirts, a stuffed animal, stickers, paw it forward wristbands and trading cards.[39]

Media Appearances[edit]


Ricochet has been featured in more than 40 magazine articles including People Magazine,[40] Guideposts,[4] Dog Fancy, Fido Friendly,[41] Modern Dog,[42] Cesar’s Way,[43] AKC Gazette,[44] Woman’s World,[45] and many more[46] In addition to the articles, she has been on the cover of Pup Culture,[47] San Diego Pets,[48] K9 Reporter,[49] American Dog,[50] Scholastic,[51] Woof[52] and Animal Wellness.[53]


Ricochet has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network,[54][55] Nat Geo Wild,[56] an MTV special called “Made”[57] and was a Jeopardy question.[58] She also appeared in two Bark Box commercials.[59][60]

She has been featured on Good Morning America,[61] ABC Evening News With Diane Sawyer,[62] ESPN,[63][full citation needed] Associated Press,[64] NBC,[18] ABC,[62] CBS,[65] Fox News,[66] Animal Planet,[5]


Ricochet appeared as an extra in the movie Marmaduke.[24]

She was also cast as the “cheese obsessed dog” in the movie “Rina’s Magic Bracelet” that featured Bailey Madison, Jackson Rathbone, J.K. Simmons, Hailee Steinfeld, James Van Der Beek[67]

Ricochet was in a documentary called “Going the Distance”, produced by David L. Brown[68]

Ricochet will also be featured in an IMAX film that is being produced by Daniel Ferguson about “super hero” dogs. It is expected to be released in 2017.


Ricochet’s surfing was featured on the Jumbo Tron in Times Square three times. She was also on the Jumbo Tron on the Las Vegas strip.[46]

She appeared on two billboards. Once with three other surf dogs. And another time with a goat.[46]

Ricochet threw out the first pitch at a San Diego Padres game in August 2013.[69]

Ricochet appeared in two music videos, “Seven wonders of the world”[70] produced by the Make A Film Foundation and “San Diego Dogs”[71] which is a parody of California Girls by Katy Perry produced by Surf’s Up Studios.


Ricochet has won many surf dog contests, fundraising and top dog awards[72] These are just a few:

Surf Dog Ricochet won the American Kennel Club’s Award for Canine Excellence in 2010[73]

The ASPCA named Ricochet 2011’s Dog of the Year[74]

Ricochet won the American Humane Association’s Hero Dog Award in the emerging hero category at the 2011 Hero Dog Awards[3] She was escorted down the red carpet by Victoria Stillwell from Animal Planet’s “It’s Me or the Dog”. Ricochet also rubbed paws with celebrities including Peter Fonda, Orlando Brown, Michelle Forbes, Jason Lewis, Anna Trubanskaya, Rin Tin Tin and Betty White.[75]

External links[edit]


Fridono, Judy and Pfaltz, Kay (June 3, 2014). Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope With the Dog Who Inspires Millions. Health Communications, Inc. ISBN 0757317723

Further reading[edit]

  • Ricochet: Riding a Wave of Hope With the Dog Who Inspires Millions. Health Communications, Inc.

Associated Press

Associated Press article in the Union Tribune

Follow me
Latest posts by David Coursey (see all)

Get KSCO Pet Radio
in your inbox

Subscribe to our weekly mailing list

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Get KSCO Pet Radio
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get guest lineups every Friday.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.