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Niebla | The story of a group of friends who journey through a vast desert landscape


The Bruhwiler family are likely a clan you're familiar with. After all, Raph Bruhwiler has been exploring and shredding across his home in Tofino for years now. In fact, Ralph is one of the first pioneers to surf across those frigid lands -- but there's more to this crew than you'd think. The whole family fully embraces 'a way of life that revolves around the forest and ocean', which actually stems from a couple of generations of connecting to their surroundings.

Nowadays, it is Kalum Bruhwiler, Raph’s nephew, who carries this legacy forward. The inspiration from the ocean came from Kalum's grandmother, Giselle, who sung the benefits of interacting, understanding and embracing with nature on a different level altogether. Those feelings took root in Kalum from a young age and evolved into an appreciation (and of course, the pursuit) of surfing.

Now, for the first time, a short movie has cast the spotlight on three generations of Bruhwilers and their way of life. Can you imagine? Being some of the first to set foam under foot in the Great White North? Titled Primitive, this is an oh-too-short three minute peek behind the curtain of passing down knowledge through family, of an unparalleled connection between self and sea -- all from the lens of Ben Lalande. To put it simply; this is more than just another movie, it is a deep inherent understanding of your surroundings and the power you can pull from that.

"I don't surf but I've always encouraged my kids and grandkids to surf," says Giselle in the opening moments of the flick. "I bought the tools and they learned it all by themselves. You need to be surrounded by the sea...to connect with it."

Anyway, hit play above to watch it all and if you're hungry for more, we picked Ben's brain a bit about the movie, which you can read below.

© 2021 - Julien Jeanson.

How did this project come about?
I'd been to Tofino before but had never done the full mission to Dropbox and those other waves up North. Also, shooting a more narrative piece was something I'd been wanting to do for a while.

Then, my friend Liam Mac reached out to me about shooting something with Kalum who obviously has a really cool story and surfs those waves all the time, so it was the perfect opportunity.

Home sure is a wonderful thing.

Home sure is a wonderful thing.

© 2021 - Julien Jeanson.

 
Surfers are often introduced to it by their parents or grandparents, what’s the dynamic like between Giselle and Kalum?
It's interesting because Giselle, Kalum's grandmother, doesn't actually surf. She's a legendary surf mom and grandma, but she's never caught a wave in her life.

Kalum mostly followed the footsteps of his mom and uncles when it comes to surfing, but everything that has to do with connecting with the ocean, being one with nature, and living off the land, that all comes from Giselle.

It's so amazing to see someone who has never surfed have such a strong connection to the ocean, and she's had such an incredible impact on her family in that regard. 

© 2021 - Liam Mac.

 
So it's kind of a family's love of the ocean passed down through the generations to get to where we are now. And shooting in Tofino - what were some of the hardships?
Weather is obviously the biggest one. Tofino is always cold and wet, and making trips to the waves up the coast is far from your usual weekend surf trip; you're driving a boat in the very rough seas, getting soaked from head to toe, then putting your wetsuit on in that same boat, and surfing for two hours.

Then, you need to build your tent, make a fire and cook up some food. It's an adventure, but it's fun. I always learn something new whenever I shoot surfing in a new spot and this time I learned that warm, waterproof gear is essential for this kind of weather. 

© 2021 - Julien Jeanson.

 
And the family is known for pioneering surfing across Canada, how did they get started with exploring home?
I think it all started with Raph (Kalum's uncle). Being from a family of fishermen and loggers, he was introduced to the ocean at a very young age and made it a point to explore Tofino and its surrounding areas.

After finding these waves, it became a family tradition to make trips up and down the coast, and it's pretty amazing to see Kalum and his family keeping this tradition alive.
 
How’s Kalum’s surfing journey, hopes, dreams? Where does he want it to take him?
Kalum actually started out surfing in Mexico. His mom Catherine moved to Punta de Mita when he was really young and that's where he started surfing. Eventually, they moved back to Tofino and that's where Kalum really learned everything he knows today.

When I interviewed him, he mentioned that representing Canada at a higher level (whether that's the Olympics or the World Tour) was his biggest goal. But ultimately, I think he just wants to inspire the next generation of surfers in Canada and around the world to live a simple life that revolves around nature.

© 2021 - Liam Mac.

© 2021 - Julien Jeanson.

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