Sayonara to Summer
Story and Photos: Tom Terrell / Surfer: Dean Petty
It's winter now. But here, next to the window, hovered over rising steam and enjoying a java aroma induced daze, I'm nearly sweating. The walk here was brisk, about 15 (C) below zero, a fine temp (with wind at your back and sun on your face) for a morning coffee pilgrimage. Halifax is known for it's awkward winters, plagued by huge dumps of snow that tend to be followed by larger dumps of rain and finally clear skies, accompanied by sub zero temperatures. The end result is less of a winter wonderland and more of chocolate covered ice age. Winters saving grace is the sun and today it's doing a fine job of transporting me back in time towards summer, landing in the first act of fall.
In the maritimes, it seems, there is a window that creaks open in the late spring and slams shut about mid autumn. During this window it is actually enjoyable to be outside for more than a couple of hours and in turn East Coasters wake from their hibernation ready to socialize, fornicate and consume. We rise up ready to be in the world and to make every hour count before winter ushers us back to our hearths, baseboard heaters, bath tubs and coffee shop windows. It was late September and with the proverbial window nearly shut and a hurricane en route it was as good a time as any for a team mission into the unknown. 'Team' being whoever could manage to ditch work/ family/earthly duties for a few days in search of greatness and waves. After careful consideration of the elements at hand we decided to meet in the middle at a long, fabled left hander. Antz and I would come from the North, Dean and Isa from the south and Pa - noose - ka would depart from (and return to) the last known location of a tuna fish in northern Nova Scotia. The wave in question had been surfed before and was known for it's extremely fickle nature. If you aimed for this spot and missed, you were a long, slow drive from the next option and likely to miss much of the action. The swell was to arrive in the evening and we planned to arrive with it. If all went well (and it did), we'd surf head high ropers, swingers and sweepers that evening and the whole day following.
On the way out of town, we stopped briefly to take in a view that has come to act as an indicator not only for swell but also for season. Autumn and winter show their truest colours in the north and arrive well before they visit the rest of Nova Scotia. Leaves hung on to branches, still green, but the colour was not vibrant, it was cold and lifeless. The pastel celebration of deciduous life and the trademark shades of fall had not yet shown but the leaves, along with the tiny summer were both clearly on their deathbed. From our perch the reading was clear; solid swell was arriving and sayonara to summer. So, loaded up with enough baked goods, whisky and surfboards to feed a village, teach them to surf and have a party, we faced south and commenced the voyage into the belly of the beast.
Going the opposition direction, a caffeinated Dean Petty takes on the elements on some seriously fun looking nearly frozen rights.