Eric is a one and a half year old French Bulldog who loves to skateboard
He taught himself to drop in and ride on ramps
Eric is a year and a half old French Bulldog from North London who can skate better than most humans. He can drop in on a bowl, turn the skateboard at speed and ride up and down on a ramp. He’s even officially sponsored by a skate shop and has his own customised board. It has no griptape so he doesn’t hurt his paws.
Eric’s owners are Claire Maclean, 28, and Joel Deason, 40, who live in Highbury, London. Curiously they didn’t actually teach him how to skate, and they certainly didn’t push him onto a board. It first happened when he was around five months old.
Claire explains: “It first happened spontaneously one day while I was walking him in Clissold Park. Suddenly there was a kid screaming and Eric had nicked his skateboard and was riding it along the path. That’s when we discovered he could skate.”
Meeting Eric at his local skatepark, I expected the locals to be wary of a dog running all over their bowl and not waiting for his turn. After all, skaters are notoriously territorial. But it turns out Eric himself is one of the locals. Sprinting over, Eric is visibly excited to jump on a board and get stuck in as he arrives to cheers from the skaters.
The French Bulldog’s love for the sport isn’t surprising, given that his owner Joel has been skating for around 20 years. “When he was a puppy he came around with me and sat in a harness while I skated,” Joel explains. “I wasn’t keen on Eric skating at first, and wanted to wait at least until his legs had fully grown. But now he’s improving all the time.”
In fact Eric puts a lot of beginner skaters to shame. They might be nervous about dropping in on a ramp, but Eric does it with absolutely no hesitation.
“It’s can be quite embarrassing really,” Claire admits. “Everyone will get their phones out. He gets a lot of attention.” While we’re at the park excited children gather round and a growing crowd applauds as Eric skates up and down.” But it’s important to remember that he organically taught himself to skateboard, and he’s certainly not a circus trick.
Claire and Joel are careful about how long Eric skates, making sure he rests for twice as long as he’s in action. But they admit he would spend all day at the park if he could.
Eric is sponsored by a skate shop – Three Amigos in Camden – and rides his own special customised board.
“Because of his paws we took the griptape off, he liked to bite it too,” says Joel.
“Eric can only turn right and hasn’t worked out how to go left yet, so we modified the trucks to fit his weight.”
Claire and Joel have tried taking Eric to other spots like the nearby ramps in Finsbury Park, but prefer the Clissold bowl as all the skaters and BMXers know and love him.
For a dog who taught himself to skateboard at five months old, the X Games are the limit. “The next step is teaching him to wait for his go on the bowl,” says Joel.
The pair admit they’ve considered taking Eric surfing, but have concerns as French Bulldogs are top heavy and aren’t natural swimmers. The breed is much more suited to skateboarding on land.
“The hardest thing is to teach him not to bark,” Claire jokes. “He loves to bark at the board every time we take him out, he just won’t shut up!”