The secret is out: Nova Scotia’s perfect cobblestone point breaks are uncrowded. The reason? C’est friggin’ froid! Before planning a trip to catch some Canadian waves, you’ll need to include some extra neoprene in the travel budget. And the possibility of losing a few appendages. Oh, you like having ten piggies? Stay where you are. You want to be comfortable? Head south.
NoSco waves are a fickle maiden. The best swells come in the winter, the forecast flirts that an imminent swell will come “in a couple days,” and when it arrives you’re sure to get the cold shoulder.
If nothing can deter you, read on! East coast surfer Dean Petty (featured in our current print issue after representing Canada at this year’s Noosa Surf Festival) offered a few tips to help you score.
Words: Vanessa Charlotte
Photo: Jack Hillman
Dean Petty x Noosa 2014 x Jack Hillman
Deanie’s Top Ten Tricks To Staying Warm (in water that turns testicles into raisins):
#1. Move somewhere warm.
This is a sure fire way to avoid the moments of panic that ensue when having to duckdive a five wave set in -17°C air and 1°C water. I think anxiety and surfing only exist in these temperatures. So, quick fix to that little mental diddy: Prozac.
#2. If you’re dumb enough to stay here, make sure you have the best wetsuit that has ever been created.
Even though there are great winter suits on the market. I have still contacted NASA to see if there is some space shit that I can get into. Everyone knows that space shit is top notch.
#3. If you don’t live close to the surf, make friends with someone that does.
Chances are they will have hot water, or at least an airtight house. The difference between getting changed in a shelter vs. the side of the road in the cold is the difference between starting off freezing and starting off kinda-not-freezing. This typically adds some length to the session.
#4. Go with a friend.
Not for safety purposes, but for froth assistance. It’s way harder to pull the trigger when you’re by yourself, the wind is howling and there is ice forming on the window of your car as you watch waves peeling down. It’s easy to make excuses when you are alone. Find someone who is more stoked on surfing than you (typically a beginner) and feed off their high levels of frothiness.
#5. Only go out when it’s good.
I like to think about it like this: One can only take so much abuse in life, the cold water whip hurts less when it’s perfect.
#6. Have two winter suits.
There is nothing worse than getting back into a wet-semi-frozen-six-mil. I have seen grown men cry.
#7. To pee or not to pee? That is the question.
I don’t pee in my winter suit, and here is why: I spend a lot of time in my wetsuit, and if you pee in your wet suit…it smells like pee. The temporary satisfaction of hot piss on your legs does little in actually warming your body. Fact. And, due to the fact that you have booties on, that pee really has nowhere to go.
#8. Be weary of your coffee consumption before a winter session.
Although it seems like a good idea to drink a hot beverage before a session to warm the core, there’s nothing worse than paddling out and feeling that dreaded gurgle. An emergency shit in a winter suit takes practice and precision. Ninja.
#9. Don’t go for “one more wave.”
When you get cold, get out. Trying to tie a board on the roof or take off a wetsuit with hands that feel like blocks of wood is comparable to trying to knit with hockey sticks—it doesn’t work.
#10. Move somewhere warm.
At least for January, February and March.