Surf Shacks 021 – Dean Petty

Meet Dean Petty, an ex-pat living in Nova Scotia, pro surfer and co-owner of Anchored Coffee. Dean has a beautiful piece of property overlooking some of the best breaks in Nova Scotia, a dilapidated farmhouse in his backyard filled with dirt bikes and surfboards for any occasion, as well as some of the best people I have ever met as next door neighbors. Dean’s home is a labor of love, he spent the first winter living there before it even had running water or heat. “It’s a slow process, one project at a time.” Dean was nice enough to not only show me around Halifax, his roastery, Cow Bay and his home, but also let us pitch a tent on his yard. All while trying to pack for a ten day trip to Colombia he was leaving for in less than 24 hours, “ I hate leaving Cow Bay this time of year” he told me over coffee in his backyard. The feeling was mutual.

Meet Dean Petty, an ex-pat living in Nova Scotia, pro surfer and co-owner of Anchored Coffee. Dean has a beautiful piece of property overlooking some of the best breaks in Nova Scotia, a dilapidated farmhouse in his backyard filled with dirt bikes and surfboards for any occasion, as well as some of the best people I have ever met as next door neighbors. Dean’s home is a labor of love, he spent the first winter living there before it even had running water or heat. “It’s a slow process, one project at a time.” Dean was nice enough to not only show me around Halifax, his roastery, Cow Bay and his home, but also let us pitch a tent on his yard. All while trying to pack for a ten day trip to Colombia he was leaving for in less than 24 hours, “ I hate leaving Cow Bay this time of year” he told me over coffee in his backyard. The feeling was mutual.

Who are you? Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Dean Petty, I’m 29 and I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. I left the states nine years ago for university and decided to stay and build a life for myself up here over the colder border. Three years ago, I bought a property with a little rotten house on it and a crooked barn and have been renovating the shit out of it ever since. My dream home is slowly coming together.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from a place in Maine called Kittery Point. I love it there. It was such an amazing place to grow up.

Where and when did you learn to surf?

I started surfing 16-ish years ago. Shit! It’s been a long time. I cut my teeth on Longsands Beach in York, Maine with my brother and a bunch of close friends. We all got instantly hooked on it and spent as much time as we could in the water figuring it all out. I don’t really think we could have asked for a better community to learn how to surf in. It was all good vibes. The older dudes were stoked to see our little crew riding logs and progressing and we were just pain ol’ stoked on anything that had to do with surfing. It was great.

Tell us about Cow Bay and the area you live in. 

Cow Bay is the best. I feel so lucky to be a part of this community. Not only do tons of amazing people live here, but we also happen to have some of the best waves in Nova Scotia (in my humble opinion). There is so much variety in such a small stretch of coast. It’s the kind of community where shit happens. We have an incredible community-funded skate bowl that we built, we have a concert series a few times a year in our little community hall, we have lots of camp fires and drink lots of beer together – and now play lots of darts.

What is your favorite part of your home and why?

The favorite part of my home is this busted-ass lazy boy that was in the house when I bought it. For about a year, it was the only piece of furniture I had in the whole place. During the renovation, I had it set up in front of my favorite window and spent I don’t know how many hours in that chair looking at the ocean. It’s my spot. The beauty and the beast of taking “as long as it takes” to do a reno is that you can think about the details for a while. Sleep on them. Visualize things. In the end, there are lots of little custom details in the house that I’m really proud of. I like the little details.

If you woke up in the middle of the night and the house was burning down, what do you grab and what do you leave behind before you have to run out?

Honestly, I might just stay in the house. With the amount of blood, sweat and tears that I have put into this place, I’m not sure I could handle it. I guess I would grab some of the artwork on the walls and the little things that I have gathered over the years. Most of the other shit is replaceable. I hate this question. It makes me sick to my stomach.

What wave do you surf the most when you’re at home?

There is a little wave in front of the house. It’s for sure where I surf the most. It breaks a lot. We have some of the most fun little sneaky neighborhood sessions out there. It’s super fun to surf with the dads, moms and groms. People cruise through the backyard with a little hoot and I know it’s on.

Whats the best part of living in Canada?

So many good things.

  1. When you are hurt, you get fixed. We pay for it in our taxes – but isn’t that how it should be?
  1. There are less people and more lakes and trees. I like less people and more of those things.
  1. The news is less dramatic; I don’t feel under attack up here. The bottom doesn’t feel like it’s going to fall out.

How’s your pond hockey game?

Pretty good eh! Nope. I get schooled. Hockey is a big deal up here. I usually play a few times a year. We have a sweet pond down the road that sees its fair share of slap shots in the colder months. Ice skates hurt my feet!

What are some of your favorite things to do around here besides surf?

We have some amazing fly fishing up here. I try and get that going when I can find the time. Skate the bowl. Ride my dirtbike and motorcycle. Have campfires. Work on the house (this takes up most of my non-real-work time). Mow my lawn. We’ve started playing lots of darts. But honestly, I work a lot.

What is your magic board these days?

I’m so lucky in the board department. I get to ride boards shaped by Matt Calvani, owner of Bing Surfboards. His boards are incredible. Top three at the moment: 7’2 Aussie Foil mid-length, 5’7 Dharma 2.0, and a 9’10 James Perry Model Log. So amped on all of these.

What do you do for a living?

 I’m a co-owner of a coffee roastery in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia called Anchored Coffee.

Tell us about Anchored Coffee?

This is what we live by at Anchored: We roast coffee we’re proud of,  transparently sourced, carefully developed, consistently delicious. We work hard, have fun, and love what we do.  That’s the juice and we stick to it. We directly source and roast single origin coffees from around the world. It’s such a fun industry to be a part of. I get to visit coffee producing countries and seek out some of the best coffees in world and give the farmers props for their hard work. That is the good stuff.

What’s going on in Colombia?

I’m on my way to Colombia tomorrow to visit a few producers we have been working with for a few years and scope out some new regions to potentially work in. We buy our coffee as directly as possible to make sure the farmers get what they deserve for the quality of their coffee. In return we get amazing, transparent coffees. It’s a win win. The industry can feel a touch “blood diamondy” at times. This is the most ethical way to do things.

Are you trying to get some surf in at all on the trip?

Not on this one. Straight business. I have a coffee buying / surf trip in the works though. I want to educate more people on how the coffee industry works and what it takes to be a conscious company in it all. Like everything in life, you get what you pay for.

Any other trips planned this year?

I’m gonna head out to California for a bit to see my brother and the crew at Bing this winter. I really want to get some warm water, sandy bottom barrels. Maybe Nicaragua? It’s been too long. Too much house and business in the last 3 years. Time to surf.

What is your packing process?

Too fast, too furious 8. Last minute. Everything that I think I might want to bring gets chucked onto the bed. Then I work backwards from there.

What’s an item you never travel without?

 Headphones. Gotta have my tunes.

Any parting thoughts or words to live by?

Care about other people.

/ Photography & Interview by Hayden Brosnan

Check out more Surf Shacks here.

Hayden Brosnan

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