Peruvian surfer Domingo Pianezzi has spent 10 years training dogs to ride the nose of his board when he catches waves, and now he is the first to surf with an alpaca.
Mr Pianezzi, 44, has introduced his alpaca Pisco to the waters of the Pacific Ocean over the past several months. Unlike dogs, an alpaca does not instinctively jump into the sea for a swim. But Mr Pianezzi says Pisco, named in homage to the distinctive Peruvian liquor distilled from grapes, is getting used to the water.
The duo caught three waves on a three-metre yellow longboard on Tuesday at a small break south of Lima, Peru’s capital. Pisco, wearing a flotation vest, crouched on the board while taking off on each wave and cruised for a few seconds before bailing into the water.
Mr Pianezzi, who teaches surfing to kids and has competed before at international contests for people and their surfing dogs, came up with the idea of hitting the waves with an alpaca while visiting Australia.
“I’ve surfed with a dog, a parrot, a hamster and a cat, but when I was at a competition in Australia I saw people surfing with kangaroos and koalas,” he said. “So I thought that as a Peruvian, it would be interesting to surf with a unique animal that represents Peru.”
Mr Pianezzi says some people have accused him of mistreating Pisco by taking a mountain animal into the ocean. But others regard him as an innovator.
Peruvians raise alpacas, a species of South American camelid, primarily for their warm wool and occasionally for food.