Living in the Utica-Rome area, our main point of reference regarding Lake Ontario probably comes from dropping off a college student at SUNY Oswego.

But who knew there's surfing on the nearest of the Great Lakes? Yeah, if we heard the phrase "surfing in New York," we'd probably assume folks are catching some tasty waves out on Long Island. A pair of intrepid surfers and one filmmaker proved otherwise. They're the trio behind Distance, a surfing movie that's receiving a lot of notice.

The whole idea sprang from the boredom and restlessness they were experiencing at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two Rochester-based surfing buddies, Aurelien Bouche-Pillon and Ryan James, wanted to get out of the house and be active. So, they grabbed their surfboards and headed out to the southern shores of Lake Ontario.

They enlisted the help of another Rochester-area guy, Parker Bement, who shot and edited hundreds of hours of film and turned it into an eye-catching four-minute film on Vimeo.

“There was no budget. Just three dudes taking getting out, putting down money for gas,” Bouche-Pillon told

The title, Distance, comes from the social distancing they observed. The catchy song you hear in the soundtrack is "Step Out" by José González. If it sounds familiar, it also appeared on the soundtrack of The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, starring Ben Stiller.

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