Louisbourg or Bust
A Surfer's Wild Ride Down Nova Scotia's Drowned Coast
“My family history goes back over 9 generations on the Eastern Shore. Reading Louisbourg or Bust is like sitting down around a campfire and hearing my family’s stories come alive. Since this book is woven around the pursuit of surf, don’t be surprised to find salt in your hair and waves on your mind. There’s so much richness and depth to the Eastern Shore - it’s a place very close to my heart. RC Shaw showcases it for the gem it truly is.”
- Jan LaPierre, Co-founder of A for Adventure
Coming October 2018 from Pottersfield Press
Ghost road: Travelling the Louisbourg-Gabarus Road of Cape Breton Island
The Louisbourg-Gabarus Road was not a road at all. From my vantage point, as I crouched low to see the footpath disappear in a mess of alder shoots, it looked like a narrowing run to nowhere. My backcountry road map lied. The faint grey line I’d been obsessing over was, at best, an echo of history.
I was there for two reasons: to discover a new surf spot and attempt a third siege of the Fortress of Louisbourg, the largest ever historical reconstruction in North America. After three damp weeks and 600 km of solo bicycle travel from my home near Halifax to northeastern Cape Breton Island, I was ready to leave my rusted bike-plus-trailer behind and make a final push on foot. The Fortress was my goal — my last stand — and I’d counted on a passable route to get there.
I stood at the road’s rough trailhead in a swirl of mist and doubt and blackflies. First, I tarped my bike-plus-trailer and propped it in a nest of prehistorically huge ferns. Next, I rolled my wet towel into a croissant and draped it around my shoulders to cushion the razor-sharp straps of my dry bag. Then I tightened my bike helmet, hoisted the sausage-shaped bag and shrugged it into place. My hands were free to cradle my most precious piece of cargo: Old Yeller, the yellow twin-finned surfboard I’d lugged for 20 days. If I was about to be swallowed by raw forest, I’d need a comrade.
The Surfers Journal 27.1, Feb/Mar 2018
ONE HUNDRED WAVES IN SOLITUDE
Of any surfer, I envy Jeff Clark the most. Not because he discovered and pioneered one of the world’s burliest waves. Not because he, a goofy footer, taught himself to ride regular. Not because he was canonized by Hollywood. I envy Jeff Clark because, from 1975 to the early 90s, he surfed in complete solitude.
In the 2017 book Solitude: A Singular Life in a Crowded World, author Michael Harris confronts his burgeoning addiction to “platform technology” and draws a distinction between loneliness and solitude. He sees a paradox: as social media behemoths like Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and their ilk demand more sharing and tighter connection between users, we get addicted to the dopamine release of a well “liked” post. Loneliness floods in when we aren’t connected. Solitude, on the other hand, is a precious resource, our comfort in being ourselves. Harris argues that solitude is a fragile forest we must protect from a world more hell-bent than ever on cutting it down.
Why dads-to-be should take birth preparation classes
Preparing for birth, the manly way.
When I found out my wife signed us up for birth preparation classes, I was less than enthused. I was enjoying my blissful ignorance around all things birth and I couldn’t see why she needed me to be there. I wasn’t the one birthing the baby, right? I could learn on the fly.