August 6th 2008, 01:02 PM #1
Why Cows Surf (It has nothing to do with Kelp that is Adrift)
This question is a natural one since cows do not enjoy surfing, they never learn to surf at their own initiative. If people had not put cows on surf boards, no cow would have every learned. However, it must be pointed out that cows do not dislike surfing either, which does explain some things. For example, cows do not jump off of the surf boards and swim to shore, although they could. Further, cows typically chew their cud while surfing. Cows do not chew cud when they are upset or unhappy. It is worthy of note that surfing dairy cows do not produce less milk than non-surfing dairy cows, again an indication that surfing does not have a negative emotional impact on them. This is not to say that surfing has no impact upon the state of mind of cows at all, indeed it does, as will be seen below, but that change is of a nature that does not appear to be so negative as to impact them physically.
Cows of course cannot surf as well as human beings, no matter how long they have been surfing. They cannot bend down to lower their center of gravity. Similarly they cannot shift their hips side to side nearly as well as people to respond to wave conditions. They can only ride long boards for fairly obvious reasons and generally do best on the older style redwood boards (these have to be custom made, no one has made redwood surf boards commercially for decades). The lack of toes also limits their ability to adjust to small changes in the position of the board as it shifts in response to the waves. The great advantage cows have over people is their distribution of weight over four, rather than two legs and having much wider hips. This gives a much more uniform distribution of weight over the length and width of the board, giving greater stability, if less maneuverability. Cows seem unperturbed by their comparative lack of surfing ability as compared to human beings and surf as well and as frequently when human surfers are present as not.
As might be expected, cows surf best on smaller, more gentle waves, riding at 90 degrees to the wave front, closer to the traditional style popular before the introduction of fiberglass or foam short boards. Further, they favor conditions where the waves break further out, giving them a longer, straighter ride. For the reasons mentioned above, they do not perform any of the fancier wave riding tricks favored by the current human surf boarders such as cutting back against the wave. They are generally placid in their riding style, chewing their cud, with the face forward. Having eyes on the side of their head has advantages over humans, especially given their style of surfing. If several cows are surfing simultaneously on the same wave, they can see each cow on each side at the same time. This allows them not to have to move their heads to keep a clear view of other surfers, both human and bovine. This minimizes unnecessary shifts in weight (cows’ heads are very heavy) and gives maximum safety. For this and other reasons, cows rarely collide with each other while surfing, or with human surfers for that matter.
Of some controversy is the role of Kelp. Cows are more easily tangle in Kelp then people, in particular in Santa Cruz, a very popular location for cows to surf. Kelp, an algae, is held to the sea floor by a “holdfast”, which resembles the roots of a vascular plant. However during storms, Kelp is pulled loose from the sea floor and is found Adrift. Cows commonly arrive on the beach, especially in the winter, with at least some Kelp that had been Adrift, tangled in their legs. Since cows don’t generally put their feet in the water, this is something of a mystery, especially since no Kelp is found in their tails or horns. The cows do not eat this despite the fact that it is high in iodide which is important to bovine health in general (e.g. it prevents goiter) and milk production in particular.
Cows of course cannot paddle out to where the waves break. Typically they mount the boards near the beach and are towed out by humans. It is not unusual for three or four cows on boards to be towed out together, in tandem, with bungee cords holding the boards together through grommets in the front and back of the boards. Once they separate their boards, people must turn the boards about to face the beach. If the water is calm for too long, given the cows lack of ability to reposition their boards, they can sometimes be found Adrift.
After surfing, cows do not spend time on the sand, they do not favor this as a walking surface. Rather they are more typically found on grassy areas, paved areas, or preferably, on boardwalks. They are much energized by the process of surfing and can be seen walking about quite a bit faster and livelier after surfing as compared to before. It is not unusual to see them rushing to and fore on boardwalks, much to the chagrin of some shop keepers as they think this keeps human tourists off of the boardwalks. Certainly cows purchase nothing from such shops since they carry little in the way of bovine fashion or grass based foods. Other merchants however view this differently. Cows trotting about the boardwalk draws tourists to the boardwalk areas that might not be there otherwise but then they tend to stay in the shops when the cows get “frisky”.
These observations might suggest that surfing is indeed a positive experience for cows. However, as noted above, while surfing dairy cows do not produce less milk than non-surfing dairy cows, they also do not produce more either. Of greatest significance, cows will not take the initiative to surf on their own, even after having surfed for many years.
August 6th 2008, 01:50 PM #2
Re: Why Cows Surf (It has nothing to do with Kelp that is Adrift)
Cowabunga!Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?- Henry Ward Beecher
"I agree fully with all Faramir has said" - Dee Dee Warren
“Duty…is the sublimest word in our language. Do your duty in all things…. You cannot do more; you should never wish to do less.” -- Robert E. Lee
August 6th 2008, 04:00 PM #3
Re: Why Cows Surf (It has nothing to do with Kelp that is Adrift)
cowadunga!The End From The Beginning by Ty Aldrich is available at www.lulu.com/content/2614100 It is NOW AVALABLE through Barnes and Noble in ebook format.
By Dee Dee Warren in forum Computer LabReplies: 3Last Post: March 16th 2007, 07:16 PM
By semmie in forum Animal Husbandry 101Replies: 5Last Post: January 31st 2007, 07:16 AM
By truthman in forum Computer LabReplies: 9Last Post: March 2nd 2005, 10:10 AM
By AVmetro in forum Computer LabReplies: 13Last Post: September 1st 2003, 06:16 AM