Photo by Josh Balon
It turns out I was the one who ended up having issues with stage fright. Pi gets very excited when he sees other dogs running off the dock, so once he knew what we were there for he was good to go. There were two "splashes" that day, not counting the finals competition, and Pi was entered in both.
For those who are not familiar with the sport of dock diving, each event is called a "splash" and depending on the number of dogs entered, each splash will consist of one or more "waves" or "heats" consisting of around 10 dogs per wave. Each dog is allowed up to two launches off the dock per splash, but only the longer of the two jumps is counted as your final score for placement at the end of the splash. There are five competition divisions: splash (0'1"-9'11"), junior (10'0"-14'11"), senior (15'0"-19'11"), pro (20'0"-22'11") and extreme (23' and above), so the distance the dog jumps will determine which division he/she gets ranked in for that splash. The distance jumped is measured by where the base of the dog's tail enters the water. At the very end of a series of splashes there is usually a finals competition. Only the top ten placing dogs from each splash/wave are allowed to jump in finals.
At his first Splash Dogs event in Hollister, Pi competed at the splash division level, with a long jump of 9'11", just one inch shy of the junior division. Well, this time around having had some prior experience, he was making jumps far outside of the splash division and into the junior division, the most competitive division of all.
Photos by Josh Balon
The second splash started a few hours later and Pi drew the first wave for the second time. I got him riled up and excited about his toy as we entered the dock, and threw it at about 13 or 14 feet away from the dock, which is at the high end of the junior distance division. Sure enough, Pi jumped the furthest he has ever jumped, 14 feet 10 inches, putting him in first place in the junior division and securing him a spot in the finals later that day.
Photos by Josh Balon
Even though he couldn't pull off a longer jump in the finals I could not have been prouder and happier with him that day. We both have a lot more to learn and perfect, and hopefully we will have that opportunity before the summer's end. It is my hope that the weather will stay warm enough that Pi can jump in the Splash Dogs Nationals in Reno this September.