There are certain numbers in our lives that diminish with age. The distance between home and the cottage seems a lot shorter – literally speaking, of course – when you’re an adult. The time between Labour Day and Christmas just isn’t enough once you’ve developed a working relationship with Santa Claus. One thousand dollars, it turns out, isn’t all the money in the world. But the height of a basketball net – there are 10 feet between the court and the hoop – always sets my perception to kid mode. I suppose that’s because when I was playing pick-up ball at school growing up, Michael Jordan was redefining what it was to be a professional athlete. My friends and I used to pretend we were His Airness taking off from the top of the key – 15 feet from the hoop – at the 1988 Slam Dunk competition. Of course our net was no more than six feet high and we jumped from maybe three feet away with a non-regulation ball – but most of us had the Air Jordan shoes. When you’re a kid, your imagination has a way of putting it all together and for one split second in the air, while your eyes are closed, you embody Jordan’s words: “I don’t know whether I’ll fly or not. I know that when I’m in the air, sometimes I feel like I don’t ever have to come down.” Steve and Licia Elder are in the business of putting you back into your old basketball shoes and making you fly again. They own and operate the Tidal Bore Rafting Resort on the historic Shubenacadie River in Nova Scotia, Canada and their Zodiac inflatable boats are piloted by guides who can ride the oncoming onslaught of 10-foot swells in the aftermath of the Tidal Bore with the grace of MJ. T he Tidal Bore waits for no man,” Steve Elder laughed when I asked him if working side-by-side with a force of nature was a challenge. “If we are 15 minutes late, it’s difficult to get downriver without grounding out at some point. We’ve become experts in boat engine maintenance. We carry quite a set of tools and spare parts – and even spare engines. We do plenty of preventative maintenance to keep the boats and engines in good and reliable working order. Boat maintenance is the number one issue we have in rafting season on the Shubenacadie River. We depart at low tide in a muddy river and cannot see the bottom – ever. So we sometimes get propeller strikes, gummed-up water pumps, water in the gas, and corrosion issues affecting steering and throttle. And that’s just the engine side of things. It’s the toughest environment imaginable for both the engine and the Zodiac itself.”

“The rafting experience happens in Class IV rapids, and that means that things can get interesting very quickly.”



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