Q&A with Marty Kukler

Surf photographer, living the #vince life, city council campaigns, nearly dying off a jet ski,
good friend of ours, always stoked on life and a full on good time (he’s better when he’s fired up on Tequila), Marty Kukler is all time. Have a read and see what we dug up.

Q: Thanks for sitting down with us Marty, tell us a bit about yourself.

A: Well I’m 5’7” tall, green eye and brown hair and like long walks on the beach hahahaha

All jokes aside. I’m not one to boast about myself. I get awkward when I’m asked to describe myself to folks. I’m an avid lover of the West Coast and everything that makes living out here rad. I like spending most of my time behind the camera lens either filming surfing or filming various pieces for local restaurants and west coaster doing their thing. I moved here nearly 9 years ago and it wasn’t for surfing haha. I never even really knew about it to be honest. I fell into the surfing world here through working at Pacific Surf School and Storm for a bit of time and then living at the famed Atkey Farm. Thats where I met guys like Ryan Cameron and Noah Cohen. I kept getting in the way like the surf kook I was and than one day Sepp gave me a nice close out wave and paddling back out I nearly ruined his wave, which is a cardinal sin surfing out here hahaha. He paddled back out and I looked at him and said ‘man I wished I had a video camera right then’ because it would have looked sick. Than Noah asked me one day if I’d be into shooting one day off the rocks at Cox Bay. I kind of blew it cause I really didn’t know what I was doing but I kept persistent and Sepp gave me some pointers (still does to this day. He’s been my mentor.) and I’ve been filming for him ever since and working the office of his surf school and surf rentals shop, Westside Surf (www.westsidesurf.com).

Q: I understand that you’ve taken up the art of shooting surf photos and videos as a hobby, tell us, what that’s like?

A: I’ve been moving towards making it more of a career this past year. Shooting various projects that are outside of surfing. But surfing is my main love for filming. I’m more into the motion of film and the fact you can’t fake video like you can fake a photo. But its my love of the West Coast landscape that drives my passion to take my filming and photography from just a hobby to a something that pays the rent. I look up to Jeremy Koreski as a pioneer of the art of capturing the West Coast lifestyles he grew up amongst and paved the way for guys like myself to be able to be apart of an ever expanding culture of Canadian Surfing and West Coast living cinematography and photography.

Q: What’s it like shooting with Sepp Bruhwiler?

A: Awesome! He’s not as gruff as people may think he is but you have to prove yourself and show him the respect that he deserves; after all he was the first Canadian to ever make it into the international surf magazines and pioneered the majority of spots with his brother Raph. He’s mentored me like an older brother and has been there for me in many capacities through out our time as friends and as his filmer. Just don’t mess up his waves haha. He’s a professional athlete and he expects to get work done when we shoot. He’s been doing this for a few decades now and counts some of the best photographers (Jeremy Koreski, Chris Burkard, Scott Surface and Nathan Lawrence to name a few) in the world as his close friends, so there is a HIGH standard that he expects. He keeps me to a standard that has made me into the shooter I am today. He’s hard on you if you miss the clip of the day, which is why we spend hours in the rain trying to get one clip in a 2-4 hour session out here. I’m just as hard on myself if I make mistakes and that has elevated my level of quality over the years, which has translated into all the other projects I’m apart of that aren’t surf related.

Q: So you’re working on an edit with Sepp called #projectvince, can you tell us a bit about it, and what to expect?

A: Oh man! This is going to be a super exciting video! It’s unlike any other video that has come out of Canada. Without going into to much detail, its going to feature some of the worlds best cold water surfers that have come searching for the cold water Indo that the spots around here can offer. Kind of the search for that Best Day Ever that we all look for as surfers and filmers. The one surf session that you tell your grand children about and the adventure to get it. Plus a whole lot of funny one liners from the original #Vince.

Q: I’ve heard from a close friend of ours (Ryan Cameron, that’s right, we threw you under the bus big guy) that he’s kind of the same as a monkey with a hand gun. Is this true?

A: Hahahaaha well thats something I’ll let RyCam explain…

Q: Who/what the hell is #vince?

A: Oh man haha. Thats a good question. It’s kind of Sepp’s thing really hahaha just calls you “hey vince” and you know you’re in the friends circle thats just how she goes hahaha. You’d have to ask him to explain it more because I don’t really know how to. It’s an endearing term that much I know hahaha.

Q: Ok, give us the story about the whole Kukler 15 campaign… What happened and why did you decide to run for council? (PS: I voted for you… )

A: Well the campaign was in November of 2014. I was tired of hearing about all the negative things that were coming from locals about how the felt there was no representation for our younger population (Tofino’s median age is 34 years old after all) and then it’s time to get things happening for the community and not just vacation rentals and tourism (which is a driving force of Tofino’s economy. Not knocking that at all). So I was approached by a life long local, who I respect and said he will be my nominator to run in the Municipal election. So I figured instead of making complaints on Facebook groups that really don’t get anything moving or fix any problems, just gives a voice to armchair critiques to complain, I bucked up and wanted to make changes from with in to meet the concerns of the community of Tofino and surrounding communities. I nearly made it on in my first run and as the only Candidate that was under 40 years old. I could’ve campaigned a bit harder but I was going through some personal stuff with the loss of a friend and than my finding out my grandmother had some health things that are now resolved. It was a great experience none the less. It’s lead me to be asked and getting elected (acclaimed) on to the Board of Director for Tourism Tofino. So I’m excited to be apart of the behind the scenes stuff and provide a youthful mind to the decision making process.

Q: Do you have Tinder? Give us a quick sampler of how you would describe yourself on Tinder.

A: No I don’t have Tinder. I tried it out but man, I don’t know about all that online dating kind of stuff. I heard it was the way of the future but its always been a weird experience hahaha I’m old school. I let my boyish good looks and humor get me dates hahaha Plus I work at Westside Surf and there are no shortage of awesome girls coming through there to take out on dates if I’m so inclined to ask one out.

Q: Tofino is a very touristy spot, why not go on Tinder? I hear it works…

A: Yah I don’t have time for all that hunting down a chick for the night off the internet thing hahaha I’ve been focusing on my filming and letting life take care of putting the right girls in my path. Like I said, I’m kind of old school like that. It’s a young kids world that Tindering thing haha.

Q: If you could go to any break in the world and shoot any surfer in the world, where and who would it be?

A: Oh man. That’s a tough one. I’d take Sepp to Peru and Chile and watch him
DESTROY lefts on his backhand. That guys seriously has one of the strongest backhands in surfing and its only getting better.If I could choose a second, it would be Taj Burrows at the Slab here. It would be mental to see him come flying out of a barrel and than hoist a massive air reverse. It was my dream to shoot Andy Irons (RIP) at the Slab here since he was on the A-Team for Billabong and so is Sepp. He is and will forever be my favorite surfer.

Q: You have any juicy travel stories that you can share?

A: Well I haven’t really gone anywhere outside of the country. I know, I need to change that, but there was a trip this past Fall that was the literally the trip from HELL.

I was heading up on Sepp’s jetski with my Aussie mate Rohan Watts on the back with me and my dry bag tied up to the ski and a jerry can of gas in the nose of the ski (it will come into play later on). We were trying to get up to this spot past Estavan Point. We were following the boat that had Sepp, Timmy Reyes, Ian Crane , their filmer Nick Green, Noah Cohen, Heath Thompson and James Martin were in.

The winds started to kick up a bit just as we were leaving the harbor and getting stronger as we hit up Sharp Point. Man we were getting smacked around pretty good but the wind was at our back, so no worries eh. As soon as we went around Sharp Point, we were hit with this SW fog winds that weren’t on any reports. So it added a 2 foot chop to the already 4-6 foot ground swell making for these insane teepee peaks that I was just hammering through on the ski. We almost made it to Estavan Point and Rohan says to me “ Oi Marty, let us have a crack at it.” I though okay, why not eh. We are about an hour or so out from our destination and I’ve been ripping on the ski for nearly 2 hours now, he can take over. And as soon as we switched we got the signal from Sepp that we are turning around. The whole area up to Estavan Point was a wall of massive white water and he boat was nearly getting swamped. So we turn around into the wind and the winds are now blowing a nice Gale Force for us to hammering back through. Fun times hahaha. We can see the boat just getting hammered as well and than I feel the ski just kick into high gear. Rowee has now pinned it, later on telling me he thought we would just “skipped” along the tops of waves if we went faster but we all we did was “skip” 8 feet into the air off the lip of a wave. The boat was veering into our path and here I was on the back seat of this ski looking 8 feet down than looking over, straight in line with the radar disk on top of the boat and this MASSIVE wall of water on the other side of the boat and I though oh f**** here we go! Nick Green was the only one to see this go down but everyone seen me cartwheeling off the back of the ski as we smashed into the wave in front of us and the chopped exploded under the ski launching us backwards. I remember being in the water, seeing the jet ski upside down and looking into the deep abyss of the Pacific Ocean thinking oh shoots, this is not where I want to be right now. Luckily we got back on the jet ski and she started and we got going on our way again. This is when it really got exciting hahahahahaha. The low fuel alarm started blaring and it doesn’t shut off. So normally you have about 20-25 mins run time left before you are out of fuel and now I’m on the back of the ski looking at shore thinking “okay. Where would be the best spot to beach the ski and put that jerry can of gas that I put in the nose of it” and Sepp was busy getting his suit on, on the boat thinking the same thing he said to me after we got back to calmer waters. So I start praying, no joke. Than we make it around Sharp Point and into Hot spring Cove and I look over Rohan shoulder at the gas gauge and its flashing on the last bar of the fuel lines and I start laughing so hard and patting Rohan on the back and he starts laughing. WE MADE IT! We tie up to the dock and I get off the ski and nearly fall into the water because my legs are like jello. Than grab a beer and shot gun it and said “I’m NOT getting back on that F****** jet ski”. Than we went and hung out in the hot springs to try and wait out the winds but than we just ended up heading back to Tofino. Some times you get skunked on trips and sometimes the winds just block you from getting anywhere close to even getting skunked hahahahaha Juicy enough of a story for yah hahahaha. It’s always an adventure going up the coast. You literally could make an entire Hollywood survival movie based on what we go through to get to these surf breaks. Especially the stories that Sepp and Raph have.

Q: You ever have fornication’s with someone or something in a Hostel?

A: Well when I first moved to Tofino, I did a work stay at a hostel in town here and stayed in the dorm room. There was this amazing chick that came to stay and there wasn’t any one else staying in the room the one night and lets just say I got a talking to in the morning by the owner for to much ruckus noise hahahaha

Q: Living in Tofino must be pretty awesome. What do you love the most and hate the most about it?

A: Oh man, you said it. It’s an amazing place. You can literally live off the land here with all the seafood you can harvest yourself and hunting you can do as well. That’s one of the things I love the most about living here. The people are amazing and the scenery is pristine here. We have some of the best places to enjoy a great meal at and are locally inspired dishes with the freshest and organic food choices going. It’s a cold water paradise here. The one thing I’d say that I don’t like about Tofino right now is the fact that everyone is turning the rooms and suites that they’d normally be renting out to long term local tenants into Vacation Rentals and putting single moms out on the street pretty much. There is a housing crisis that should have been addressed four years ago and now its getting crazy out of hand. Sure they are providing more places for people to come, stay and enjoy the area here but than there are no places to house the folks that are needed to keep the local businesses operating and this will only affect Tofino negatively because people can only work so many jobs before they get burnt out and short tempered. So that’s the only negative thing I have to say about Tofino other than folks not abiding by the proper surf etiquette in the lineup but that’s for the surfers to work out hahaha Let’s just say we are lucky that we Canadians are fairly nice and that this isn’t the North Shore or I’m sure there would be a few more heavy discussions going on the beach.

Q: So you’ve made it this far, anyone you wanna thank?

A: Oh man, soooooo man people have been a major part of me getting to where I am. Obviously my mom for birthing me and raising me right hahaha. Sepp for taking me under his wing and constantly pushing me to become a better version of myself personally and as a Filmer. Without Sepp, I don’t know what I’d be doing with my life right now. Raph Bruhwiler for pioneering these spots and all the times I was lucky enough to get a coveted spot on his boat. Catherine Bruhwiler for being an amazing positive influence. Jeremy Koreski for being the pioneer and leading the way for guys like myself and always taking time to answer my seemingly stupid questions and showing me stuff when I have a question about settings etc. Josh Mulcoy for being an awesome guy, wicked surfer to film with and overall great friend to me. My boy Adam Chilton for continually pushing the envelope with his edits and raising the bar every time and showing me how to edit and selling me my 7d I shoot with. Adam Dewolfe for showing me a few things and always helping me out with anything I ask. Noah Cohen for introducing me to Sepp nearly 7 years ago now (speedy recovery on the knee injury) and always fun to shoot and hang with. Rycam for being a solid friend and always so darn positive! Gisele and Vern Bruhwiler for everything they do for me. Gisele is like my mom way from home and has picked me up more times than I can remember when I’ve been in some low places. Peter Devries for always being positive with me. Shannon Brown for being a wicked friend and always looking good on camera. Kyler Vos for being a fun guy to be on trips with when he’s out there taking photos. Ben Gulliver for pushing the envelope with his edits and continuously raising the bar, while sparking some creativity in my work. Ryan Erickson for all his wisdom he has bestowed upon me with his expertise as a world class fishermen (If you want to get on a sick fishing charter hit him up RyanEricksonVentures.com he is the best in the biz) and being a guy who has always been stoked to see me do good. Scotty Rae-Arthur for also being one of the locals who has always been stoked for me and given me guidance and they guy is a serious skating legend here. All the other old time locals like Derek Fraser, Richard George, Ian Francis, The Greig’s for showing me the ropes, Andy Greig especially. He was the one who gave me the confidence to run for City Council. Connor Maxwell, my room mate and one of the very first friends I made when I moved to Tofino. The guy is a legend and man can he build some wicked #connorstuff. One of my best friends Nick Hill for always being super surf stoked and overall just super positive person to hang with. And all my friends for not giving a f*** about what it is I do and who I work with and putting up with my BS from time to time, especially Suzy Weed, Katie Brougham and Jessica Rousseau. The others, they know who they are. There are too many to list off.

Thanks to Brendan Muehlenberg at SurfCam.ca for giving us guys who never really get in the spot light a chance to be seen because we are the ones behind the scenes doing our thing and for putting on a super fun Surf Contest The Surfcam.ca Christmas Classic. I’m looking forward to next years contest and making the live feed better than this past years one.

The folks at Xcel for hooking me up with the wetsuits to keep me warm when I’m on the jet ski and having to swim to shore with all my film gear from
the boat.

Q: One last question before we let you go, if you could spend one night with Tatiana Weston-Webb or Alana Blanchard, who would you choose? Why?

A: Not going to lie, I had to google Tatiana hahaaha I’d say Alana Blanchard. She seems like a rad chick and I think we are on the same level of crazy fun. Mind you I don’t have the assets that she does
and I feel she’s got a bit more experience. Nothing can be substituted for experience they say. Isn’t that why younger women go for older men? Hahaha Plus I feel I’d learn more about the surf industry through hanging out with
her since she has been in the game for a fair bit of time. And man she looks good smiling in them RipCurl Bikini’s.

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