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.”

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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.

Nova Scotia’s sexual education updated before Ontario

Many have been talking about the update to Ontario’s sexual health curriculum, but some may not know that Nova Scotia introduced a similar curriculum almost 4 years ago.

While Ontario’s new sexual education curriculum has been criticized for the inclusion of LGBT topics and the age that sex education is introduced, Nova Scotia’s updated curriculum was quietly implemented in 2011.

“We are really proud of our curriculum,” said Natalie Flinn, the active, healthy living consultant for the Nova Scotia Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. “We are building capacity for the administration to feel competent and confident in teaching sexual education. And, at the end of the day the true beneficiaries are the children and youth.”

Nova Scotia’s curriculum teaches students about cyberbullying, sexting and how to be safe in an online environment. The update is a response to cultural changes in society, especially in regards to developments in technology and how students interact over social media.

Flinn said that the hypersexual material that children can find on the Internet damages their development in sexual health education.

The curriculum also teaches children about LGBT issues and how they can understand their own sexuality. All of these issues are tailored for each specific age group.

Ontario announced similar changes to its curriculum in late February.  Some parents are upset that children will begin sexual education in Grade 1 and feel that they should not be taught about sex at such a young age.

Ontario’s curriculum has not been updated since 1998.

Both Nova Scotia and Ontario follow guidelines from the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Where the two provinces differ is when they introduce certain topics in the classroom.

The organization aims to be non-heterosexist and responds to common misconceptions surrounding sexual health such as sex education leading to early sexual activity.

Additional sexual education available for schools

If the education programs in the schools aren’t enough, there are many other resources for sexual education located throughout Halifax.

The South House offers additional support and resources for sexual health.

The South House, located on South Street, is a sexual health resource centre and will do inclusive workshops on sex and sexual health
The South House, located on South Street, is a sexual health resource centre and will do inclusive workshops on sex and sexual health (Photo: Jennifer Lee).

Jude Ashburn, the organization’s outreach co-ordinator, said that they would often be asked to go to schools and do workshops on sex and gender. They would cover topics that wouldn’t necessarily be discussed in a classroom.

“For a long time we went in and gave sex ed for free and just went everywhere that asked us. And when we do sex ed we mention things like pleasure and masturbation. These are things we don’t think you would get in sex ed (in schools),” said Ashburn. “We affirm the right to have unbiased scientific information about your body.”

While providing workshops in schools, Ashburn learned that children know a lot more about their own bodies and sex education than some might think.

“We asked kids in Grade 3 to describe their gender and they came up with some really radical answers. We would ask them things like, ‘If your gender was a place where would it be’ and what they would come up with was amazing,” said Ashburn.

Flinn said they have received letters of support from parents commending the curriculum.

Since the 2011 update was a response to adapt Nova Scotia’s curriculum to cultural changes in society, there may be more updates in the future.

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.







News Digest: March 23 – 26

Catch up on happenings on the Halifax peninsula, as reported by other news outlets.

Trouble Inmate sets herself ablaze at Truro prison (Chronicle Herald)

A women, unofficially identified as Camille Strickland-Murphy of St. John’s, set herself on fire at the Nova Institution for Women in Truro. Strickland-Murphy suffered second degree burns. In November, she was sentenced to 36 months in prison for attempted robbery and breach of probation. According to an anonymous source, the women stuffed her pant legs with paper and using a match or an outlet started the fire. Pamela Goulding, a provincial court judge, said Strickland-Murphy suffered from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder and panic disorder. She also has a history of alcohol and drug abuse.

Whalen on N.S budget: Prepare to ‘feel some pain’ (Chronicle Herald)

On Wednesday, Finance Minister Diana Whalen delivered a warning about the upcoming provincial budget. She said the new budget will change the way government does business, including a complete review of department and services in order to cut back. Whalen also announced that the Nova Scotia Tourism Agency would become a Crown corporation led by a private-sector board.

NSCC hikes tuition by three per cent in most programs (Metro News)

On Thursday, Nova Scotia Community College announced that it would raise 2015-16 tuition rates by three per cent for most programs. A three per cent increase, for most students, adds up to an extra $90 in annual tuition costs. Tuition costs for the following programs will not go up: recording arts, health information management, certified welding, gas technician, heavy equipment operator, process operations 4th class, and aviation programs.

Halifax company says industrial snow melters could have conquered Old Man Winter (CTV News Atlantic)

A Halifax company said it has equipment to melt snow. Trecan Combustion builds industrial sized machines to melt snow faster and more efficiently than hauling it away. After the snow is loaded, it is melted in the machine and is driven over a manhole where the water empties into a sewer. Industrial snow melters are currently used at the Halifax Stanfield International Airport and the Halifax Shopping Centre. Halifax Regional Municipality considered using the machines, but ultimately found that they would not be worth the time or money due to high diesel costs.

Assault charges dropped against N.S woman with brain disorder (CTV Atlantic News)

Three charges against a women with an intellectual disability have been dropped. According to police, Nichele Benn allegedly struck an employee with a foam letter and a shoe at the Quest Regional Rehabilitation Centre on Dec. 12, 2013. The Crown decided not to proceed with charges of assault with a weapon.

Roméo Dallaire pleads for support to end child soldiers at Halifax event

Roméo Dallaire discusses his “ultimate mission” to end the use of child soldiers as weapons of war, at Citadel High on Tuesday evening.

About 400 students, teachers, community members and local figures turned out to see Roméo Dallaire speak at Citadel High’s Spatz Theatre on Tuesday. Dallaire’s talk focused on what he calls his “ultimate mission” to end the use of child soldiers as weapons of war.

Dallaire, a retired lieutenant-general, founded the Roméo Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative, an advocacy group based in Halifax at Dalhousie University. The Dallaire Initiative works to promote increased understanding of child soldiering.

“The numbers are not decreasing, but increasing. And so there is a way of reducing it, by preventing them from being recruited and by training the security forces to consider them as a threat and to know better how to handle them,” said Dallaire.

Dallaire’s experience working with the United Nations during the Rwandan Genocide prompted him to develop the Dallaire Initiative. It has been a year and a half since Dallaire left his job as a Senator to pursue humanitarian work.

Dallaire spoke for over half an hour regarding the use of child soldiers as weapons of war, and how Canadians can help. There are two main principles Dallaire encourages: “The first is be aware of how these conflicts are using children. Secondly, donate. We absolutely need resources to be able to train these forces over there,” he said.

Making progress in Sierra Leone

Josh Boyter is the communications officer for the Dallaire Initiative. He stressed how vital it is that Canadians be aware of the role of child soldiers. “Children are one of the most sophisticated, low-tech tools that many armed groups have to fight their wars. And until we can effectively combat that, they’re going to continue using children as weapons of war.”

The Dallaire Initiative, which began at Dalhousie in 2010, is making progress in Sierra Leone, where more than 10,000 children were used during the civil war from 1991-2002. “(Sierra Leone) is now one of the main peacekeeping countries in Africa. Now it is a thought leader on this issue,” said Boyter.

Boyter said that it is not more troops that are needed, but better trained troops in dealing with the complex issue of child soldiers. The issue of child soldiers is incredibly complex, using both boys and girls of 7, 8 or 9 years old. These children are used in many ways, including acting as spies, carrying weapons, and forced sexual servitude. “Girls, due to certain cultural nuances and things like that, may see a lot more reluctance for them to come back into society,” said Boyter.

An issue close to home

Dallaire said that Canadians are aware of the issue, but don’t know how serious it is. “Not realizing that it’s far more sophisticated, they use (child soldiers) in all the positions, from support to sex slaves, that there are large numbers of girls, and that by using kids is to sustain conflict for a long time. That innocence on our part is going to bite us, because we now see this happening in Canada too,” Dallaire said.

The Dallaire Digital Ambassadors Project is focusing on social media to draw attention to child soldiers. “It’s critically important to recognize that the individual you see on the screen is not somebody else’s problem, it’s not someone else’s issue, but rather that we’re all connected as a global citizenry,” Boyter said.

Proceeds from Tuesday’s event will go towards the Dallaire Child Soldiers Initiative at Dalhousie and to Sending Orphans of AIDS Relief (SOAR) Halifax. These proceeds will aid the initiative’s main project in Sierra Leone, which is currently on hold until November due to the Ebola crisis.

Dallaire took time after his speech to answer several questions from Citadel High and Horton High school students. Afterwards, Dallaire sat to greet a long line of attendees and sign copies of his two books.

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Barrington Street is getting revamped

Major reconstruction plans will be taking place during the next couple years on Barrington Street, including a paved road, new sidewalks, painted street lamps, and a handful of new businesses expected to open.

Barrington Street is getting a massive facelift. Within the next couple years, it should be a clean, rehabilitated, popular destination for new communities, tourists, students and locals.

“The sidewalk will be open all the way from one end to the other for the first time in two years. That’s a huge freakin’ deal,” said Waye Mason, the regional councillor for the area.

Amidst the construction signs and machinery, there are a few significant hints indicating an evolving space.

An Urban Outfitters is expected to open in May at 1652 Barrington Street, Freak Lunchbox is expanding, the Roy Building is under construction and new office spaces just opened up between Venus Envy and the Khyber Centre.

Core Issues

It won’t be easy.

“Rebuilding downtown is an ugly, dirty business,” Mason said.

The street is in need of some basic repairs. The sidewalks are old and cracked, the signs are rusty and like Mason pointed out, the road has one of the worst surface distress conditions of any street on the peninsula.

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“It’s got certain grandeur and it’s got certain potential, but it’s got parking signs that have been put up 20 or 40 years ago and the red paint is all worn off and it just looks like nobody cares,” Mason said.

Boarded up windows and ‘for lease’ signs are common sights on Barrington Street. Many businesses haven’t been able to last a year due to high rents and poor business.

“Almost every business that’s failed on Barrington Street- not every one but almost every one- in the last decade is an analog media business. They’re book stores, camera shops, record stores, so nothing that is coming back, and it doesn’t exist anywhere anymore,” Mason said.

Prevailing businesses

A number of stores and bars are helping to keep Barrington Street alive. Venus Envy has been on the block for 16 years and has no plans to leave.

Kaleigh Trace from Venus Envy is excited to be a part of and witness the upcoming developments on Barrington Street. (Photo by: Erin McIntosh)
Kaleigh Trace from Venus Envy is excited to be a part of and witness the upcoming developments on Barrington Street. (Photo by: Erin McIntosh)

“I love Barrington Street and I really want it to be as vibrant as it used to be,” said Kaleigh Trace, the education co-ordinator at Venus Envy.

Freak Lunchbox is making a significant move. The candy store is relocating to a larger location, just a couple doors down from its current spot.

“Freak continues to thrive despite some small businesses struggling – I plan to just continue on the same path of constant improvement and growth. It has been working so far,” store owner Jeremy Smith said in an email.

“More business is always better. Competition is always better and more businesses downtown bring more people downtown.  It is a win-win situation,” he said.

Plans for TEDxDalhousie ‘generating buzz’ in community

Dalhousie University will be hosting TED talks event later this month. Kathleen Reid talks about planning, ticket sales and the itinerary for the event, which will soon be announcing speakers.

Dalhousie University will be hosting its own independently organized TED talks event later this month. Beginning at 3 p.m. on March 29, the speaker series event will take place in Nova Scotia for the fourth year.

Kathleen Reid is a co-coordinator of the event, and has high expectations for this year.

“I hope that it will bring a broader sense of community within our student body, and all the people that are involved in our community at Dal,”she said. “Just starting conversation about things that are important here.”

Demand for tickets already exceeding seating limit

Although speakers haven’t yet been announced, the event is already generating interest.

“We’ve gotten a great response on Facebook, I think there’s over 1000 people that say they’re attending the event,” Reid said.

This is slightly problematic, as the McInnes room of the Student Union Building has a maximum capacity of 400 people. “It’s good though, because it’s generating a lot of buzz,” said Reid.

Each TEDx independent event has a theme, and this year’s TEDxDalhousie is focused around the theme ‘People. Passions. Possibilities.’ Reid expects talks on a variety of topics people are enthusiastic about.

“At a university there’s so many different areas people are passionate about and it’s really cool to see the response we’ve gotten. We’ve gotten a lot of student applications, which is awesome because it’s a Dal event now, so it’ll be a really different roster of speakers.”

This theme sets a guideline for the itinerary of the day, which consists of three separate speaker sessions, with breaks between each. The event will also include dinner. Each session will have two or three speakers as well as an entertainer, which could be anything from music to spoken word poetry.

The tickets haven’t gone on sale yet, but will be available for $25 beginning at least two weeks before the event, according to Reid. They can be bought on the TedxDalhousie website or at the Student Union Building’s info desk on campus. The student union also plays a part in organizing the event, providing funding, resources and technological equipment for the event.

Bigger and better than previous years

This years TEDxDalhousie is set to be larger than last year’s TEDxNovaScotia event, which had the theme ‘Chances Worth Taking’. It is also more focused around Dalhousie’s community, although it is open to the public.

As for what attendees of TEDxDalhousie can expect from the event, Reid speaks to TED’s motto, ‘Ideas Worth Sharing.’

“I like the idea that everyone is passionate about something that they can talk about. The whole overarching idea that everyone has a Ted talk within them,” Reid said.

Kings TV News, episode 3

This third episode, hosted by Jesse Laufer and Shelby Rutledge, takes a final tally of Movember, checks out a new controversial cannabis-friendly cafe in town and looks at how pop-up businesses are thriving.

Students from the third-year broadcast class at King’s do all of the reporting and editing for their very own TV news show.

This third episode, hosted by Jesse Laufer and Shelby Rutledge, takes a final tally of Movember, checks out a new controversial cannabis-friendly cafe in town and looks at how pop-up businesses are thriving.

All that and more, this week on Kings TV News.

Kings TV News, episode 2

This second episode, hosted by Hannah Witherbee and Meg Campbell, shows how students are coping with stress, a new laundromat posing as an art gallery, and how a series of letters has left at least one student on campus quite unnerved.

Students from the third-year broadcast class at King’s do all of the reporting and editing for their very own TV news show.

This second episode, hosted by Hannah Witherbee and Meg Campbell, will show you how students are coping with stress, a new laundromat posing as an art gallery, and how a series of letters has left at least one student on campus quite unnerved.

All that and more, this week on Kings TV News.

Kings TV News, episode 1

This first episode, hosted by Sean Mott and Sophie Allen-Barron, brings you stories on Remembrance Day, the new Cyclesmith location and the resurgent trend of self-tattooing.

Students from the third-year broadcast class at King’s do all their own reporting and editing for their own TV news show.

This first episode, hosted by Sean Mott and Sophie Allen-Barron, brings you stories on Remembrance Day, the new Cyclesmith location and the resurgent trend of self-tattooing.

All that and more, this week on Kings TV News.