In a video that's now gone viral (and has some parents up in arms), the, er, brave father decides that his 9-month-old son is finally ready to shred some waves with him off the coast of their native Puerto Rico. Maybe the bouncy gym and kiddie pool were getting stale? In any event, watch as he straps on a GoPro camera and paddles out to the ocean on a banana yellow bodyboard with his babe tucked underneath, and his partner following behind on a separate board.
As the water splashes them, the baby alternates between utter freak outs and bewildered smiles, a response that seems perfectly natural to me all things considered. But before long, the soaking-wet wait is over—Jorge has found the perfect starter wave! And in the blink of an eye there they are, dad and boy, together riding the swell of a (slightly too-big-looking) wave. Just watch the adorable (and also alarming) video for yourself:
Despite the nice and neat parting shot of the trio smiling at the camera, I found the video really tough to watch at times. Like when the boy's face is submerged in salt water. Or when he's careening along the water. He looks like he's in agony.
Which begs the question: Should you even take a nine-month-old surfing/bodyboarding? Without a life jacket, no less? Jorge's reason for hitting the waves is that he wanted to expose his kiddo to the ocean. "My son [sic] first try,'' he explained in the video description. "Thanks to everyone. I encourage you to safely bring your kids to the ocean, after all the ocean is the place where it all began. By far, this is the best sport for you [sic] spiritual, mental and physical health."
I'm all for water safety and introducing your child to water at an early age, but it's our job as parents to take proper safety precautions and choose activities that are age-appropriate. In my case, we took our son to Mommy-and-Me swim classes at our local Y, where a teacher could instruct us and a lifeguard watched over us, just in case. I know everyone's appetite for risk is different, but letting my baby ride the waves before he can even walk? Well, that's a little out of my comfort zone.
But what do you think? Would you take your baby out on the ocean? Tell us in the comments below.
Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+
Screen shot courtesy of Jorge Tirado and son via Vimeo