First Light Spotlight - Jill Manos // Nova Scotia, CAN

jill manos, nova scotia, canada, surfer, surfing, mom, mother, first light surf club

This Mother's Day, our spotlight brings us to Nova Scotia, Canada, where we catch up with Jill Manos—a mother of two, dedicated surfer, firefighter, and co-owner of Lawrencetown Surf Co. Amidst the whirlwind of family life, work commitments, and business endeavors, Jill is able to stay grounded and recharge through surfing. Jill's love for the ocean extends beyond personal enjoyment; she's dedicated to sharing the stoke of surfing not only with her family but also with her community.

This Mother's Day, we honor Jill and all the mom's who are chasing their passions, encouraging us in our own, and imparting the stoke of surfing in all of us.


Q. What got you into surfing and where’s your favorite spot to go?

Jill - I actually didn’t even know you could surf in Nova Scotia until I met my boyfriend (now husband) 19 years ago. It’s changed a bit since I started surfing but when I was a kid it was all about hockey and traditional sports. People would look at you pretty funny if you told them you were going out surfing but it’s slowly becoming less of a fringe activity here. We end up in the track of a lot of weather systems, which we rely on for swell production. I don’t know that I have a favorite spot but rely on half a dozen or so that keep me out of the wind.

Q. Tell us a little about the surf culture in Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Jill - The surf culture is in Lawrencetown is in a really good place I think. It’s slowly grown to a size where local businesses are able to pop up and be supported and community events (like the great potato weigh off) are well attended! There are a healthy number of kids in the school and in the water too. There’s a few more people in the lineup than when I started but I think as a whole the community is in a golden era.

jill manos, canada, lawrencetown, nova scotia, surfing, surfer, First light surf club, mom, mother

Q. What does community mean to you and how has surfing and the ocean shaped your community?

Jill - Our community was mostly fishing and farming for hundreds of years, surfers have only been in the area since the 60s but I think it’s put good energy and youth into a rural coastal town. Community to me is not necessarily just geographical though, we have wonderful people in our neighborhood but also an incredible community of surfers that drive out from town (Halifax). Community to me are your friends and support, whether it’s planting your garden, helping haul lobster traps, building your house or coming to your birthday party, community is who is showing up.

Q. You and your husband Nico started Lawrencetown Surf Co back in 2020. Can you share what that experience has been like running the surf shop?

Jill - We purchased the building in the middle of a lockdown; it was both a blessing and a curse. We had all the time in the world to pick away at the reno, but it was virtually impossible to find building materials or PPE; dust masks were sold out everywhere for months! We had a lot of help from friends in the community to bring it all together and now, into our 4th year, we feel like we are in a really good place. We always dreamed of having a cool spot for the surf community to gather for BBQ’s, movie nights, gear swaps or yard sales, fundraisers, etc … It’s interesting, the people who built a lot of the old homes in Lawrencetown were so self-sufficient that a “town center” never really existed, there’s no real place that people really had to go and hang out and catch up. One of our goals was to create a space like that. I think us, along with Lawrencetown Beach Cafe have helped with that.

jill manos, canada, lawrencetown, nova scotia, surfing, surfer, First light surf club, mom, mother
Q. With you and Nico both being accomplished surfers and entrepreneurs in the surf industry, how has it been sharing that passion for surfing with your kids?

Jill - We always secretly wished our kids would have a love for the ocean and surfing, but we never push them to if they aren’t feeling it. This past summer, we spent at least 3 days a week at the beach with other families in the community and the kids got so into it, it was so cool to watch the little grom squad emerge! A major highlight was a camping trip we took to an island off the coast of N.S. and the surf was the perfect size to all paddle out together as a family (kids are 5 and 7), it was so awesome! Definitely looking forward to surfing with them as they get older and able to be in the lineup with us.

Q. Amid the demands of work, running a business, and raising a family how has surfing kept you grounded and mentally recharged through it all?

Jill - Aside from the kids and the surf shop/surf school, I am also a career firefighter (currently in my 15th year) so sometimes I get socially overwhelmed being surrounded by people all the time. Having surfing as an outlet to escape, recharge, exercise or whatever I need to do to keep my own mental health in check, is very important.

Q. Any tips for someone planning a visit and hoping to surf in Lawrencetown?

Jill - Nova Scotia is a very inconsistent surfing destination so scoring good waves on a pre planned trip here would be a bonus for sure. Most of the people who travel here to surf do it on a whim because they see a hurricane and book a flight or make the long drive from a landlocked province/state. Nova Scotia is a pretty special and amazing place with lots of things to do and endless coastline to explore. It’s definitely not a great place to plan a surf trip, but if you come it’s definitely worth bringing your boards. 

jill manos, karl funk, log fest, 2020, surfer, surfing, womens, surf

Follow along Jill's journey here

Check out Jill's surf shop Lawrencetown Surf Co

Photography by Karl Funk and Tyler Tindale

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~ Stay Stoked ~ Spread Stoke ~