Halifax surfboard shaper sees big breaks in 2015

Andreas Hart, founder of Hart Surf Co., launches his company and starts to sell surf boards in Nova Scotia.

Andreas Hart concentrates as he slowly pulls the tape off of a surfboard, one of his own creations. He has been waiting for the resin to set for two hours, and is now back to coat the other side. Hart is the founder and sole proprietor of Hart Surf Co., a Halifax-based company that designs and makes surfboards.

This has been a huge year for Hart Surf Co., starting with a sold-out launch party in January. He won second place in a business competition at the University of New Brunswick, and the first board orders are starting to roll in.

Officially a company since Feb. 1, Hart Surf Co. is now selling surfboards, which can cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000. Hart has a few different designs that he uses, and then makes the board to fit the customer.

His small one-room shop, located at the Dalhousie University Sexton campus, is full of surfboards and equipment. Each corner has four or five surfboards stacked together, each at different stages in the design process.

The boards are anywhere from basic foam cut outs to being finished and ready to paint. The process starts with Hart coming up with the dimensions and entering them into his computer. The dimensions then get sent to his machine, which cuts the foam into a board shape. He says the general shape ideas are based off of boards he’s used in the past, but he comes up with all of the dimensions.

The process really started when Hart and some fellow students built the machine, called a CNC surfboard router, during the final year of his mechanical engineering degree at Dalhousie in 2014.

“I wanted to do it after I finished my degree, but then one of my friends, while we were out enjoying ourselves, was like, ‘Why don’t you just do it now?’ And then the next day I sent an email to my professor and asked if I could … and then eight months later we had a machine that worked, and just started designing boards from there.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Originally from Dartmouth, N.S., Hart has been a passionate surfer since the age of 13. He taught himself how to make surfboards. He says he used his knowledge of surfing, mechanical engineering, trial and error, and the Internet, to figure out how to make the boards. He says he is continuously learning. Next week, he is going to make his first standup paddle board, and eventually wants to start making skateboards as well.

After finishing his engineering degree, Hart started auditing business classes at Dalhousie to learn how to formally start his own business.

While there are others in Nova Scotia who make surfboards, Hart says he is the only one doing it full time and trying to make an established company out of it. “Nova Scotia has been getting a lot of publicity over the past two winters for its surf … It’s going to take some time obviously, but I’m trying to gain some trust,” says Hart.

Hart says right now he is working on a video that will showcase local surfers using his boards, and what he is most excited about, putting together a surf team with the ultimate goal of the team travelling together and representing his boards.

Surfboards and art

Hart is also connecting with local artists who paint the boards when they are finished, providing one-off designs that can’t be found anywhere else. On April 18, his boards will be featured in The Collective Art Show, hosted by the Blackbook Collective, which will showcase more than 20 local artists.

Local artist Heidi Wambolt has done the art for several of Hart’s boards. She says her style of work focuses on aquatic life and themes, so working with Hart was a perfect fit.

“Andreas is great to work with. He makes suggestions but gives me a lot of space and freedom to do my own work,” says Wambolt.

“With Andreas’ laid back suggestions, the freedom of artistic expression, and my eagerness to keep painting and producing, more boards will definitely be on the way!”

Hart says his next step is to get a bigger workshop outside of the city — preferably in the Lawrencetown, Seaforth, and Martinique area. He says he wants to stay in Nova Scotia and keep trying to get his name out there.

“It’s exciting to see where it takes me,” says Hart.

News Digest: March 27-31

Catch up on news happening on the Halifax peninsula, as reported by other media outlets

Roof of former Halifax high school caves in under weight of snow (Metro News)

Early Friday morning a security guard found sections of the roof of the former St. Patrick’s high school, located on Quinpool Road, had caved in. Two sections of the walls were taken out, and the building, which has been closed since 2012, is set to be demolished in the coming months.

Dalhousie deals with fresh scandal (The Chronicle Herald)

Dalhousie students have been found to be involved in a sex scandal, as an Instagram account called “The Dal Jungle” has been brought to light. The account held pictures of students engaging in sex acts as well as nudity, and the account was only available to males. However, the Instagram account has now been de-activated and five students have been kicked out of residence, as well as 15 students have been banned from drinking alcohol.

Four arrested in drug raids in Kings, Yarmouth, Lunenburg counties (The Chronicle Herald)

On Thursday and Friday four men from Kings, Yarmouth and Lunenburg counties were arrested in connection to drug raids.

Two men, ages 33 and 43, from King’s County, were arrested in relation to 400 marijuana plants being seized, as well as grow operation equipment, and an unsafely stored firearm. Both men were charged with drug trafficking.

Police also arrested a 29-year-old man from Yarmouth and a 51-year-old man from Eastern Passage.

Plane hit antenna array before crash: TSB (Metro News)

Early Sunday morning Air Canada flight 624 crashed and slid off the runway at the Halifax airport. There were 133 passengers on the flight and 5 crew. 25 people were taken to the hospital, and all have been released except for one. Air Canada says that despite the snowy weather, the conditions were safe for the plane to land. The Transportation Safety Board says that the plane hit an antenna array which ripped off its main landing gear. The plane also lost one of its two engines. Investigations are ongoing as to the reason for this occurrence.

McNabs Island cottage to be set on fire (Metro News)

An abandoned cottage on McNabs Island will be burned Tuesday morning, says the Department of Natural Resources. The bad condition of the cottage could pose a threat to visitors of the island and it has been determined that burning is the best option, and will be done by trained professionals. The cottage is not one of the historic homes on the island.







Music festival takes over Dalhousie student union building

One-night-only festival keeps bands on campus and encourages students to support their local music scene.

A mini, grassroots music festival temporarily turned the Dalhousie student union building into a glowing, smoke filled accumulation of heavy bass, heavy metal, and hearty jams. SUBfest 2015: 25 bands, seven rooms in Dal’s SUB, an event fully student organized and run. On Friday night, both Dalhousie students and the general public converged on the student union building to take part.

Why use the SUB building when we live in a city with the most bars per capita in Canada? Organizer Ali Bee Calladine said it’s about “bringing the community and culture of Halifax onto campus, instead of trying to push students out of the campus into the community.

Calladine said the festival stemmed from the idea of “taking over the SUB.” She said she thinks students should take more control over campus, starting with the student union building.

“I think it was just a lot of thinking about music festival culture, and that’s something that’s really sort of nice and special in Nova Scotia, there are a lot of really small music festivals…it takes a lot of students a long time to experience that, and we certainly don’t experience it in the winter time,” said Calladine.

“Beyond that there’s something cool about the idea of a grassroots music festival that isn’t trying to make money and isn’t trying to promote anything,” she said.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Like your common summer music festival, once you paid the eight dollar door charge, you were free to roam from venue to venue as you pleased. There were volunteers in each room facilitating the shows, and hosting them in cases like the open mic room.

The festival took over the lobby of the SUB and the Grawood bar, as well as administrative offices, conference rooms, and hallways on all floors. Most rooms had DJs or bands playing, one was dedicated to the group DalJam (where students bring their own instruments and play together), and one was an open mic room.

From 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., all rooms were open. At 11:30 p.m. festival goers congregated in the Grawood to hear the headlining band, The Wayo. The R&B band originated out of the University of King’s College, and came from Montreal specifically for SUBfest. Other headliners included Harley Alexander, Dalhousie professor Tim Crofts, and Foggyswoggle.

Calladine said that she spent around 80 hours in meetings during the last month working out logistics. Alcohol licensing, booking bands, and acquiring control of the space took time and effort, but she said that the Dalhousie union staff members were helpful when it came to figuring out the details.

Dalhousie student, SUBfest co-organizer, and performing band member Alex Butler says he would love to see this event happen again next year. “We had a ton of people come out and volunteer, which is really what made it happen, we could not have done stuff like this without having a ton of people get here and be committed to the idea and put it together… It’s been exactly what we needed it to be,” says Butler.

CKDU celebrates 30 years on the air

On Monday, an exhibit called What’s Left on the Dial: A CKDU Retrospective, opened at the Khyber Centre for Arts. The art exhibit celebrates the 30 year anniversary of campus and community radio station CKDU, and will run from March 2-8.

CKDU community and campus radio, a show 30 years in the making, celebrates. On Monday, an exhibit celebrating the 30th anniversary of Dalhousie’s campus radio station, CKDU, opened at the Khyber Centre for Arts.

The exhibit is called What’s Left on the Dial: A CKDU Retrospective. Photographs, posters, and newspaper clippings from CKDU, all accumulated over the past 30 years, are displayed. The exhibit runs March 2-8.

Starting on Tuesday, so as not to interfere with the opening night speeches, there will also be listening booths with music and sound samples taken from the sound archives, according to the event curator Kim Hornak.

Keith Tufts, former station manager, spoke to an intimate crowd of about 20 people about the history of CKDU and the work that has gone into it over the past 30 years.

“So many unserved cultural voices found their audiences in our first few years, so many artists found their voices as well,” he said.

Tufts says that there were a 180 volunteers involved when the radio station launched, and only six paid staff. He attributes getting the station off the ground to the sheer will and determination of a lot of people.

“Everyone and their dog who was involved in art in this city flocked to us, and helped us make this station an FM radio. We were determined to be the best radio station in Halifax.”

Tufts ended his speech with recalling some fond memories, such as kidnapping Dalhousie’s president until they raised the money they needed, or the time he literally walked into Kurt Vonnegut as he left the studio, or, last but not least, Hunter S. Thompson finishing an entire bottle of whiskey while being interviewed, then going to give a speech to all of Dalhousie.

Jason Johnson's show, “I really love you,” aired on CKDU for 5 years. He DJ’d the opening night. Photo: Jeana Mustain
Jason Johnson’s show, “I really love you,” aired on CKDU for 5 years. He DJ’d the opening night.
Photo: Jeana Mustain

The evening’s music was provided by a small record player and DJ’d by Jason Johnson. Johnson has been contributing to CKDU for the past seven or eight years. His show, which ran for around five years, was called “I really Love you”, and played music from the 1950s and 60s. He said he used to listen to CKDU in university and found it inspirational. Johnson said he is proud of how far the radio station has come and was honoured to be asked to DJ the 30th anniversary of CKDU.

“I think it is amazing that they’re still able to be on the air,” said Johnson.

The evening also launched This is Radio Wheat, a new beer selection created by Garrison Brewery in honour of CKDU.

Veronica Simmonds hosts a show called Braidio on CKDU. During her show she braids people’s hair while live on the air. She says that community radio has a healthy future.

“There’s a particular power to being placed with people, which is why I think terrestrial radio and community radio will live on forever,” said Simmonds. “I have been touched by the experience of being in that chair, and I know that I have touched other people.”

The opening of the exhibit was a milestone for the station and Tufts said he hopes to be back here in another 20 years, celebrating CKDU’s 50th anniversary.