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Cowabunga! Peru’s Surfing Alpaca [video]

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What happens when you put an alpaca on a surf board?

We didn’t know either, until we stumbled across this video from a couple years ago (2010, to be exact). It’s an oldie but a goodie. Thanks to Peruvian surfer Domingo Pianezzi, our suspicions are confirmed: Alpacas fare better in the Andes than in the ocean.

"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," Pianezzi told Reuters back in 2010.  "So I thought that, as a Peruvian, it would be interesting to surf with a unique animal that represents Peru."

Alpacas are common in Peru where locals raise them for their fine fleece. Baby alpaca wool is soft and light weight, selling at a premium price. The animals also sometimes end up on the dinner plate; alpaca meat is rich and consumed as a specialty good.  Alpacas are domesticated South American camelids often confused with llamas, which are also prevalent in Peru. Llamas are bigger and typically used as pack animals. (Learn more about llamas and alpacas in Peru.)

Pianezzi named his llama Pisco—homage to the Peruvian liquor—and kept a life jacket on the tolerant creature, who is seen in the video gamely attempting to balance on four wobbly legs before tumbling into the waves.

See more photos of the surfing alpaca here.

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