“The Flame Within” is a new short film by US freestyler windsurfer and film maker Alex Mertens. It’s been a while since his last video. We always enjoyed watching Alex’s videos as he always puts a lot of effort into his videos. In addition to the video we caught up with Alex to find out what he has been up to in the last year.
What is your flame within and how do you tame it?
The Flame Within – by Alex Mertens
Continentseven: Alex, what have you been up to in the last year?
Alex Mertens: The last year has flown by but has been busy! Since covid, I’ve been cranking down and focusing on completing my schooling, and I am happy to say I am almost there! I’ve been windsurfing a lot and been on the water almost every day in the summer but was kind of hit with life. In the last year, I have been doing a lot of videography and photography work for events, artists, and other things. Some of the most fun is shooting big festivals here in the US. But I’ve been having a lot of fun doing documentary work, portraits, studio shoots, and starting to use my degree in 3D Modeling and Animation work. I recently started working an internship for a tech company in the US doing motion design, and it has been an absolute blast exploring new creative avenues.
We were a bit spoiled by your regular windsurfing videos. How come you haven’t released a windsurfing video since one year?
I miss creating stuff regularly like that and would love to get back to doing more. Before, my videos were all trip based, but I haven’t been traveling too much lately, so I didn’t have any stories I was adamant about telling. Now I’d like to transition a bit to do more regular videos and have considered doing some other types of videos besides my usual creative explorations. The main reason I haven’t been able to create is quite simple actually. I had no one to film me haha. It’s difficult to ask people to film when the conditions are so good, and all they want to do is be on the water. And most of my friends who would film me in the past are now busy with jobs or living out of state.
You are also into wing foiling now. How do you like it?
Yes, I have picked up wing foiling now as well! I think that wing foiling is a perfect balance for windsurfers, especially freestylers. Wing foiling to me is the most fun in the conditions we freestylers would take out our 4.8 or 5.2. For freestyle, I prefer to be on the smaller sails, so this was a perfect balance since it allowed me to do “high wind” wing moves in lighter winds. It also enabled me to go to so many new spots that I never could have done freestyle windsurfing with. I know there’s a large portion of the windsurfing community who isn’t too hot about winging, but I think they should give it a chance before making any final decision on it. Take it from me, I used to have the same opinion, but it is a perfect balance to what I do, and I’ve been having a good time with it.
Will you make a return to competitions or only free riding for now?
I think eventually, once my internship is over, id like to make a return to the competition scene. It was a really fun time for me, and I made so many friends that I would love to just reconnect with. I still try to get out to any competition I can, like the OBX wind festival we have in the US, but I would like to get back out to the Scene in Europe. If I could find work over in Europe, then, of course, I would return to that scene!
The spots in the video look great. Please, can you explain the spots.
La Ventana is where I spend the majority of my winters. It’s a super fun spot with great people and a great atmosphere. It’s a spot that holds a special place in my heart since my family and I have been going there for eight years now. Now it’s becoming an extremely popular winging destination thanks to the large rolling swell the spot has to offer and because of how accessible it is for people in the US. If anyone wants to get out there, let me know!
Next is Sherman Island, which I consider to be my home spot. In California, we are blessed with many options to pick from, but Sherman Island is the spot I tend to always flock to. The spot is challenging, which I enjoy. The challenge lies in that it’s a tidal river, which means one run will never be the same as the next. Water conditions, currents, wind gusts, and freshwater change every second, so you can never truly adapt to the spot. The benefits of this make this spot so much fun, though. We get conditions ranging from big swell to flat water every day.
Lastly is Floras Lake. This is a spot that my family and I went on a one-week trip to just to check out and try a new place. It’s on the Oregon coast north of Pistol River, and man, was it windy. We had 20-30+ knots every day in the five days we were there. I thought it would be freestyle heaven, but the spot was too gusty. I ended up winging there since this sport could account for the gusty winds much better.