Sunday, October 23, 2016

In the Pork Barrel

Rescued Pig Loves to Surf — and Swims Faster than Anyone

The Dodo  by Elizabeth Claire Alberts  Oct. 19, 2016 Photo credits: @kamathesurfingpig

It all began when Kama the pig accidentally fell into the pool.

Kai Holt — Kama's dad — was hanging out in the backyard with his three kids at the time. Kama loves to play "chase master," a game that involves running as fast as he can around the pool, trying to catch Holt's son. When Kama took a corner too quickly, he fell into the water.

"He started swimming like a little motorized boat," Holt told The Dodo. "And I thought — whoa, that pig can swim. We didn't know that he could swim that well."

After that, Kama couldn't get enough of the water. He started regularly jumping into the pool and playing with the pool toys, and even leapt into the hot tub. And when Holt went to surf at the local beach in Waimanalo, Hawaii, Kama followed him into the water …

… and started to surf.

"We took a paddleboard out one day — one of those soft top ones," Holt said. "And Kama hopped on. Everything happened so quick."

Kama was a natural — soon he was hanging 10 like he'd been doing it everyday. When Kama fell off the board, Holt initially worried. But Kama shot up through the waves and hopped back on Holt's board.

"He's like Michael Phelps," Holt said. "Michael Phelps of the pig world. We used to race him to see if we could beat him, but we could never beat him. Not even the lifeguard could beat him."

Life wasn't always so cruisey for Kama. When he was just a couple weeks old, Kama was all alone in the world — no mom and no home. Holt was camping with his friends on Bellows Beach in Waimanalo when Kama wandered up to him.

"He just came into our campsite," Holt said. "We thought the mom must be around, but we didn't find her. Usually when babies are alone like that, that means something happened to the mom."

Holt doesn't know what happened to Kama's mom, but he thinks hunters killed her. There's a large pig population Waimanalo, and Hawaii officials are trying to eradicate pigs because they believe they're responsible for a lot of the deforestation and erosion in the area. In fact, Holt says that the state pays hunters to eradicate them.

Holt looked after Kama for the rest of his camping trip. When it was time to go home, Kama came too. "He's like a kid," Holt said. "I couldn't leave him alone."

Holt has three human kids, but Kama quickly became his fourth child. He bottle-fed Kama until he was strong enough to lap milk from a bowl. And Holt took Kama everywhere he went — and he means everywhere — the hardware store, restaurants, the bar, and of course, the beach.

Now Kama surfs with Holt almost everyday. Holt says that Kama especially loves 3- or 4-foot waves. "He surfs Hawaiian style," Holt said.

While it's possible that Kama may have found his passion for water on his own, he probably has Holt to thank for introducing him to surfing.

Kama has influenced Holt's life too. Holt became a vegetarian, and now he runs a little sanctuary for rescued animals. Besides Kama, Holt takes care of six sheep, five pigs, four chickens, four dogs, two ducks, a turkey, a goose, a peacock, a rabbit and a cat.

"Kama's a cuddler, he's a lover, he's a teddy bear," Holt said. "He's like my kid."

To learn more about Kama's surfing adventures, you can follow his Instagram page and Facebook page.

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