US freestyle windsurfer Alex Mertens released a new video with action from the Bay Area of California. “In the video I aim to show some epic windsurfing action as well as nice scenic shots in order to capture the beauty of each area,” Alex said. We like the style of his edits and caught up with the 18 year-old newcomer for an interview, which you can find below his video.
Episode 1 with Alex Mertens about windsurfing in the bay area of California
Interview with Alex Mertens
Continentseven: How old are you now and where are you living actually?
Alex Mertens: Im now 18 and I live in San Jose, California
Continentseven: What are the best spots around San Jose to windsurf?
Alex Mertens: Where I live in San Jose it’s about an hour drive to most of the spots in “The Bay Area”. But during the summer I’m basically living in Rio Vista. Every spot offers different conditions so it really depends what you are looking for and each spot is different in each tide. You got the coast for waves and the Bay for bump and jump as well as freestyle.
Continentseven: Since when have you been freestyling and what are your goals?
Alex Mertens: I’ve been doing freestyle windsurfing for 3 years now. My goal is to eventually be one of the regular contenders in the PWA. In a few weeks I will actually be competing in Dam-X event and im super excited for that.
Continentseven: You are traveling a lot. How do you finance all your trips?
Alex Mertens: Luckily my family is also avid windsurfers so my parents support me with my dream. My parents are helping me finance my travels and I am forever thankful to them for helping me support my dream.
Continentseven: How much does it help that you are kind of a freerunner or gymnast for the freestyle windsurfing?
Alex Mertens: I feel that being able to do flips on the beach is very helpful with freestyle actually and anytime we are spinning off axis. The flips I do gave me a very strong air awareness so I am always able to tell where my body is in the air.
Continentseven: Do you feel you are advancing quicker compared to your friends?
Alex Mertens: I feel that I am advancing at a decent rate. The more I’m on the water the better I become. Because I’m sailing so much I do feel that I am advancing quicker than some of my friends.
Continentseven: Which moves do you practice at the moment?
Alex Mertens: At the moment I’m doing hard training. Im drilling Air Skopus and I’ve had a few, but I can’t hold the landing just yet. Im also working on the double moves like Spock Culo and all the others.
Continentseven: Do you think you will reach the level of Golllito, Steven, Amado, Yentel & Co one day?
Alex Mertens: This is my dream. I wish one day I can be as good as them. Every time I see their videos or I watch the PWA livestreams, they always get me so fired up to be better. One day I will reach that level I hope.
Continentseven: How did you start with freestyle?
Alex Mertens: Hahah I actually started doing freestyle because of a video that my dad showed me. It was Brazil 2014 by Romain Pinocheau. That video actually inspired me to edit videos. Prior to that I had no clue that level of freestyle windsurfing existed. I saw Andy Brandt do his light wind stuff and I thought that was about it.
Continentseven: Filming and editing is a big part of your life. You get better an better in that! You even produce movies for other rider like “Sick Day” with Phil Soltysiak. How big is this part in your life actually?
Alex Mertens: I’m always editing haha 🙂 I bring my camera and drone with me everywhere I go because you never know what you will capture on camera. I actually started video editing when I started freestyle all because of the video I watched. I’m self taught in everything I do from effects, transitions, color grading, camera settings, etc. The hardest was probably figuring out Adobe Premiere and After Effects for the first time. Sick Day with Phil was probably one of the most fun projects I’ve ever worked on because of all of the live reactions we got from people who were watching it unfold.
Continentseven: Who inspires you?
Alex Mertens: I have many people who inspire me. Phil Soltysiak, because he is a good friend and he is always pushing me, Dieter van der Eyken because I looked up to him since we first met in Bonaire a few years back, Caesar Finies because he has been such a good friend and teacher to me. And the list goes on….