‘The surfing scene around here has always been tiny.‘
Walter Flowers leans on the hood of his 1950’s Jeep and folds his arms.
I’d pulled off the road in White Point, Nova Scotia after seeing the small surf shop sign. It seemed kind of incongruous, shrouded beneath the towering pines; it grabbed my attention. Venturing south into the less populous part of this Atlantic fringed region, I was unsure whether I’d even find another surfer, let alone a surf shop.
‘Four years ago there was maybe five of us surfing. I’m not sure how many there are now, but I have a shop and I wouldn’t be able to keep it going if there were just five or six of us.’
The Search for Kindred Spirits
The art of surfing has always been fuelled by the desire to seek out new places, the search for undiscovered waves, to push beyond established boundaries. It was filmmaker Bruce Brown who brought The Endless Summer to the world, a phrase now synonymous with chasing the perfect ride, a mythical place of sun, sand and surf. For decades a new discovery was always just around the next headland, and each fresh surf magazine offered up a new warm water Nirvana.
Today the once idyllic tropics are filled with surf charter boats and surf camps, the line-ups choked with the very people we all left home to escape. Surfing continues to expand, over half a million people take to the line-ups around the UK, over twenty million worldwide. Scouring the globe for new destinations, surfers are casting their eyes towards the cold blue of remote latitudes. Here in Nova Scotia world class waves reside on epic shorelines, point-breaks peel in splendid isolation watched only by towering cedar forests. This is a place where locals still ring around to find someone to go surfing with.
The art of surfing has always been fuelled by the desire to seek out new places, the search for undiscovered waves, to push beyond established boundaries.
‘Ten years ago you’d do an hour [in the sea] if you were lucky,’ explains Walter. ‘New wetsuit technology helps us stay in longer now, but then there’s still the tricky subject of getting changed in the snow. I was in town one day and I saw this trailer, it was behind a building. I said to the owner, ”What are you doing with that?” and he said ”I’m thinking of selling it.” So now we got The Shack – a trailer with a heater to change in, we can surf all day at minus fourteen and it doesn’t matter. It’s a great rig – rain, wind or snowstorms. A plough on my pick-up truck, ploughing our way to the breaks with The Shack on the back in the middle of a blizzard. No fooling.’