Until recently, a summer trip to the beach in Nova Scotia was a bit of a tease.
While sitting and sweating on the sand, you could look at the beautiful blue Atlantic waters, but you couldn’t really dive in unless you were interested in feeling the effects of hypothermia.
Thanks to advances in wetsuit technology, it’s now possible to jump in and enjoy water sports like surfing on Canada’s Ocean Playground.
“Surfing is great for people of all ages, shapes and sizes,” says Nova Scotia surf instructor Michelle Richards. “Surfing will help increase your physical fitness, balance and the size of your smile. It also helps reduce stress levels.”
Richards and her surf crew are gearing up for their annual Summer Surf Program at Point Michaud Beach on Cape Breton Island.
Now in its seventh year, the program starts on Saturday, July 4 and will be held everyday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until the end of August, weather permitting.
The program features surf lessons from Richards, Carli Boers and Nicole Boudreau. All three woman have five to eight years surfing experience and two to six years experience as surf instructors. They also have Bronze Cross lifesaving certificates as well as First Aid and CPR training.
Lessons are an hour-and-a-half long and include equipment (wetsuit and surfboard). Beginner students will gain a greater understanding of ocean conditions and water safety. They will be able to paddle, catch and stand up on their own by the end of the lesson.
Children under 10 will always be one-on-one with an instructor. Intermediate surfers can learn more tricks and manoeuvres and participate in surf-competition training.
Lessons are $35 each. Also available are a four-lesson packages for $100 each, or four-person group lessons for $100 each. Lessons are available to people of all ages, including seniors.
“It’s never too late to learn especially with our knowledgeable and patient surf instructors there to assist you,” said Richards.
The Summer Surf Program at Point Michaud Beach is one of the summer activities offered by the Richmond County Recreation Department.
The start date for lessons corresponds with the Point Michaud Sand Castle Contest during the first weekend of July.
Call Carli Boers at 631-2599 or Michelle Richards at 345-0741 for more information or to preregister. Or just show up at the beach in July and August.
The Summer Surf Program will culminate with the 6th annual Point Michaud Surf Classic on Saturday, August 29 and Sunday, August 30.
“It’s always a great event with lots of prizes to give away,” said Richards.
Outside of the program, surf equipment will also be available to rent. The cost is $15 per hour for a surfboard and wetsuit together, or $10 per hour separately for a surfboard or a wetsuit (includes booties and mitts).
This year, Richards and her crew will be providing daily surf report available by phone. The report will be updated every morning with beach and surf conditions. The phone number will be released soon and will be available in July and August.