Surf Dog Ricochet: riding her last wave with triple amputee Jose Martinez | Photo: Surf Dog Ricochet

The tides have turned, and now 14-and-a-half-year-old surf dog Ricochet needed help catching her final wave on August 13, 2022, due to cancer and other health issues.

Jose Martinez, an army veteran, Purple Heart recipient, and Gold medalist in adaptive surfing, got on board to help her.

Ricochet has been sponsoring Martinez in adaptive surfing competitions since 2017. Last year, the athlete won the gold medal at the 2021 ISA World Para Surfing Championship in Pismo Beach, California.

"I thought Ricochet might catch a wave or two, but she kept going. She was so happy. It was a beautiful ending to a beautiful surfing story," said Judy Fridono, Ricochet's guardian.

"It's like her story came full circle. She helped so many others catch waves all these years, and when she needed help, who better than Jose."

In 2008, Ricochet jumped on the board of a 14-year-old boy with a spinal cord injury to become the first-ever canine-assisted surf therapy and adaptive surfing dog.

Since then, she has surfed with hundreds and hundreds of kids with special needs, wounded warriors, veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), pro surfers, and even a goat.

Ricochet was also one of the first canine surfers to start the whole surf dog circuit. She placed first, second, and third in surf dog contests when she competed.

Jose Martinez and Richochet: surfing friends for life | Photo: Surf Dog Ricochet

One of the Lives She Changed

Martinez became a triple amputee after stepping on a 60-pound improvised explosive device (IED) meant for a vehicle in Afghanistan in 2012.

The force of the blast threw him in the air and instantly amputated his legs, right arm, a finger on his left hand, and some internal organs.

In 2014, Martinez was introduced to surfing as part of his rehabilitation at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego.

Jose had never surfed before his accident, but now he says he can't imagine life without it.

Martinez has become a dynamic competitor and respected athlete with impressive results in local, national, and international adaptive surfing contests.

Liver Cancer, Kidney Disease, and Arthritis

Earlier in 2022, Ricochet had a fast-growing soft tissue sarcoma (cancer) removed from her right side.

Part of the incision didn't heal for seven weeks. As a result, she lost strength in her hind legs and has been in rehab ever since.

In addition, Richochet was recently diagnosed with kidney disease, and an ultrasound last week showed a mass in her liver.

The subsequent computed tomography (CT) scan confirmed that the mass is liver cancer.

She also has arthritis in her spine, most likely from surfing with so many kids holding onto her back end for stability all these years.

Ricochet started on the ground floor of adaptive surfing and has been involved in the movement ever since.

The surfer dog's roots are part of her legacy and commitment as a surf therapy dog to helping service members and veterans with PTSD, as well as wounded warriors and adaptive surfers.

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