Thirteen-year-old Quinn Marsh details his surfboard while 14-year-old Peter Barbrick (right) watches on. Both boys are participants in the Nova Scotia Sea School's "Get Out and Surf Program."
It’s just after 9 a.m. on Sunday morning, and while this is prime sleeping time for most of his teenage friends, 14-year-old Peter Barbrick is busy painting the surfboard he’s built from scratch.
Barbrick is one of 10 teenagers, mostly from the Eastern Shore area, taking part in the Nova Scotia Sea School’s “Get Out and Surf Program.”
“If I went out and bought a surfboard myself, I wouldn’t know a thing about it,” said Barbrick, who’s from Middle Musquodoboit. “Here they supply me with everything I need to know…rules of surfing, how to surf, and how to build a board. I learn a lot about the ocean too.”
The Eastern Shore is a region of HRM with a strong community of adult surfers and artists. Yet, despite the area’s abundance of surfable waves, there are few young people who surf or are involved in the surf community.
The Sea School aims to help change this and get local youth out on the waves. Funded by HRM and 4Cs Foundation, a community arts organization, the “Get Out and Surf Program” takes place over three weekends at Camp Brunswick in East Chezzetcook.
For $125, each participant is provided with accommodations and meals at the camp, raw materials to make a surfboard and a wetsuit.
Participants stay at the camp Friday through Sunday where they are taught by local surfboard makers and artisans how to shape, sand, art-up, and glass their own surfboards. They’re also given instruction on surf etiquette as well as surf lessons from local experts.
In between workshops, board-building and surf lessons, participants make their own meals together, clean up, watch surf movies and hang-out around a campfire.
“I like the small group; you get to know everybody,” said 16-year-old Brittany Campbell from Gaetz Brook.
Sixteen-year-old Ben Bell from Middle Musquodoboit has had a blast building and painting his 7-foot-2 funboard, which is the size and shape most of the participants went with. He’s also enjoyed getting in the water and getting lessons from “the pros”.
“I’m getting my license this summer and hopefully Peter and I will go out to Martinique (Beach),” he said. “Should be a lot of fun.”
Besides three weekends at the camp, another component of the program is mentorship.
“We’re trying to pair them (the participants) up with mentors who can take them out surfing two or three times,” said Sea School executive director Amy Schwartz.
The Sea School is still looking for mentors. It’s also looking for donated wetsuits, including boots and gloves. Those who might be interested in mentoring or have a wetsuit to donate are asked to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.