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Rose, a bulldog, was among about 130 dogs that participated in a watery audition for surfing and diving roles on the Natural Balance Pet Foods float in the upcoming Rose Parade.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Kalani skim-boards for a chance to appear on the "world's heaviest float," sponsored by Natural Balance Pet Foods, in the Rose Parade on New Year's Day.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Bubbles get encouragement from Quinn Hettich, 7, before jumping into a pool of water. The 10-year-old pooch jumped off the dock and belly-flopped into the water with a huge splash. Quinn threw up his arms in victory.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Luigi, a French bulldog, jumps on a skimboard during the skimboarding audition sponsored by Natural Balance Pet Foods.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Rose doesn't want to let the board get away from her.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Smoke, a Chesapeake Bay retriever, dives into the 4-foot-deep pool. Onlookers and judges got drenched when the larger dogs started jumping.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Titan makes a big splash. The dogs chosen to ride on the float will train at the Pacoima company's dock-diving tank and skim board ramp twice a week through the end of December.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

A participant exits the water after completing a dive.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Porter jumps in anticipation, begging for a chance to show off some skimboarding skills.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

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Flying (wet) fur in dog auditions

By Gary Friedman, Los Angeles Times

There are fun assignments and sometimes there are REALLY fun assignments. Today was one those really fun ones. How can you go wrong photographing dogs diving into a pool of water as if they were competing in the Summer Olympics?

Such was the case today when I was fortunate to photograph dogs, lots  of them. Being doggy deprived my whole life I greatly relished this assignment.

It looked like a canine Cirque du Soleil as these cute little critters performed  remarkable dives and balanced themselves on skimboards that would even impress our greatest Southern California surfers.

All the dogs were competing to be on national television during the Rose Parade on New Year’s Day as part of the Natural Balance Pet Foods float “Havin’ a Splash.” Not all the dogs kept their balance on the skimboards but for the few that did, it was most impressive.  I don’t always like to get wet on assignment but after one of the larger dogs dived into the pool, this was one soaking that was, indeed, really cool.

Times staff writer Bob Pool has the full story.


  1. November 9, 2010, 10:55 am

    Awesome pictures!!

    By: Denise
  2. November 16, 2010, 1:34 am

    […] 2011 float sponsored by Natural Balance Pet Foods is themed “Havin’ A Splash”. Joey Herrick, President and Co-Founder of Natural Balance Pet Foods, say that the 2011 float costs […]

  3. December 1, 2010, 2:43 pm

    Awesome is right. I recognize that little Frenchie, Luigi, and the other pics are just as cool!


    By: h7hy
  4. December 7, 2010, 10:08 pm

  5. January 4, 2011, 3:33 pm

    […] Los Angeles Times photographer Gary Friedman got the rare opportunity to ride aboard and photograph from the Natural Balance Pet Foods float during the 2011 Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena. Friedman describes how he, with the help of fellow photographer Robert Gauthier, set up four remote cameras on the float to help him record some unique images. Also check out photos from the float and photos from the auditions. […]

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