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HUALLE Paddle Company Celebrates Patagonian Craftsmanship and Culture

HUALLE Paddle Company Celebrates Patagonian Craftsmanship and Culture

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HUALLE is bringing its carefully crafted paddles to the world stage

A passion for nature, craftsmanship and the culture of an out-of-the way community in Patagonia is what sparked, HUALLE, a small paddle company that’s now hitting the international stage.

HUALLE is a mom-and-pop company. Its mission is to pay tribute to Tierra del Fuego in the Patagonia, more than 2,000 miles south of Santiago, an astonishing land lovingly referred to as “the end of the world.”

The idea of HUALLE started as a common idea among designers, craftsmen and the people from Southern Chile.

Artist Mario Coloma had a yearning to visit longtime friend, C. Andres Ovalle, who had moved from Santiago to the far southern tip of South America.

“I used to design everything on paper, and I always dreamed to capture these ideas in a palpable 3D product,” Coloma said. “I told him I had some ideas and I wanted to try them on paddles.”

Ovalle’s daughter connected them to a talented craftsman she knew from Liquiñe, Chile, a talented woodworker named Fernando Jiménez. Coloma pitched the idea to Jiménez, to create handcrafted paddles from naturally fallen trees and them hand paint them to create a beautifully unique product.

“I found sincerity in what he was saying,” Jiménez said. “And something special was born.”

HUALLE Team Paddles
HUALLE paddles are made from naturally fallen trees, and that’s just the start of the care taken to produce the final product. [Courtesy of HUALLE]

Inspired by Patagonia

The beauty and culture of Southern Chile has always been the driver behind each product HUALLE creates and sells. Patagonia’s lakes, its volcanoes, its snow in the winter, its sun in the summer, and the people who call it home all fuel the ideas behind the company’s paddles, wood candles, and other handcrafted items.

But the team also puts in hours of careful work to pay tribute to those who came before them.

The designs, hand painted on the paddles, embody the stories of indigenous people of Patagonia, specifically the Selk’nam, the Yaghan and the Mapuches people.

“Our paddles evoke the memory of these people who spent most of their lives in canoes. The bodies are painted during the male initiation ritual (known as Hain) and represent the Selknam spirits,” HUALLE’s website states.

Matías Arévalo, head of HUALLE’s sales and marketing, said everything about the company’s products celebrates the beautifully rustic terrain and lifestyle of Southern Chile.

“The final products are what I like most about the South: the people of the South, their lifestyle, the scenery. It’s being able to recover our legacy and the way people live, the culture and how things are done.”

HUALLE Team Paddles Patagonian Craftsmanship
The designs hand painted on the paddles are inspired by the symbols the indigenous people of Patagonia would paint on themselves during male initiation ceremonies. [Courtesy of HUALLE]

Craftsmanship at its finest

Mirroring the region’s unhurried and peaceful culture, the HUALLE craftsmen carryout each step of their work with thoughtfulness and care. For instance, from trekking through the forest to find the fallen trees; to designing, carving and painting the paddles; and finally labeling and packaging the paddles.

“Everything has someone behind it who did it with a lot of passion,” Coloma said.

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The hand pressed labels, for example, are from cut leather. In addition, every kit arrives in light cloth bags with HUALLE branding.

Furthermore, Coloma says he could easily make the labels in China or have the paddles mechanically painted.

“But I think the value is in the dedication,” he said. “Moreover, the time we spend on them. That has a worth.”

HUALLE is currently sharing their Patagonia-made products on the world stage, as they attend MAISON&OBJET. The Paris showcase is an international authority on home decor, interior design, architecture and lifestyle culture.

“We’re ready for an amazing journey,” the team said just before they left.

If you can’t get to Paris or Patagonia, check HUALLE’s incredible products on their website.

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