Copyright: Markus Marschall :: Location: Sacramento River
We hooked up with Alex Mertens from the US, to know more about him as a young talented freestyle windsurfer and river ripper.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself, where are you from and how come you got into freestyle windsurfing?
Alex Mertens: I’m an 18-year-old from San Jose, California, who is currently training with hopes of competing in the PWA. Alongside training, I am also studying for a BA in Graphic Design through an online university. Initially, I was not into the sport, but the moment I experienced planning for the first time, I was hooked. I didn’t know about the super high level of freestyle windsurfing until my dad showed me a video in 2014, Romain Pinocheau Brazil 2014. After that I’ve been fully focused on improving and eventually competing in the PWA.
Copyright: Alex Mertens :: Location:San Luis Reservoir
What freestyle moves did you work on lately and just crossed off your todolist ? Do you have a signature move?
Alex Mertens: This year alone I crossed many moves off my to-do list like Air Skopu, Skopu, Burner, Air Funnel into Funnel, Culo, etc. Right now, my to-do list is to work on making all the moves I do consistent, double pop moves, and doing everything on both tacks haha. I’d say my signature move is the shaka because I’m always throwing it and its one of my favorite moves to do.
Copyright Photo: Mark Harpur :: Location: River Gorge
Please gaze into your crystal ball and tell us where you see freestyle windsurfing in the next ten years? Where do see potential of further development and what do you see yourself doing in the future?
Alex Mertens: In the next ten years, I can see freestyle going with much bigger air and more than one rotation in one jump for the moves. For example, double air culo and probably next the double air burner. In ten years, I can still see myself going hard at this sport and hopefully doing videography as a profession.
Your favorite windsurfing playgrounds are?
Alex Mertens: I really love sailing everywhere because each spot provides such a different and unique experiences. But overall, I find myself sailing in Rio Vista, California the most because it is both a challenging and fun spot. I do also love sailing up in the Gorge but it can get quite scary at times when you are fully overpowered on a 3.4 haha.
Copyright Photo: Max Rowe :: Location: Tatajuba
Any plans to participate in any tour stops of the Professional Windsurfers Association(PWA) or European Freestyle Windsurfing Pro Tour(EFPT) in 2018?
Alex Mertens: Yes actually! For the 2018 season I will be following the full EFPT tour! Super stoked about it and I cannot wait to travel to all the spots with some friends of mine.
You produce creative & state of the art freestyle windsurfing clips, featuring yourself and your freestyle buddies windsurfing on rivers and oceans around the globe. Can you provide an insight into your passion, tell us about your recent film projects and your motivation behind it?
Alex Mertens: I got my passion for video editing after watching the same video that got me into freestyle windsurfing. That video had so much intense action and the cuts were clean making the video very entertaining to watch. I still watch it over and over today ;). My recent film projects is my travel training series, Sessioned. In Sessioned, I feature the hardcore windsurfing action of the spots that I am traveling to and I try to show off a bit of the area where I am. The last clip episode I released was in Brazil and I am currently working on filming for the latest episode, Mexico.
Copyright Photo:Josh Rascov :: Location: San Francisco Bay
You hang out & sail a lot together with Philip Soltysiak(CAN-9). In summer you produced this nice little flick SICK DAY featuring Philip. Please tell a bit about the idea behind it and about your friendship.
Alex Mertens: Haha Sick Day was a fun project that Phil had a genius idea for one night. He just wrote me a block of text and I said yes, let’s make it happen. A lot of the basic story came from the block of text that Phil sent to me, but we created so much more when filming because we just kept coming up with stupid ideas that were super funny. Phil is a good friend of mine and I look up to him as a role model for how I would like to be.
title: SICK DAY :: source: vimeo copyright: Alex Mertens :: Location: River Gorge
river-rippers.net is focused on river windsurfing, what rivers did you sail so far and how do you experience it compared to sailing the ocean or a lake ?
Alex Mertens: So far, I have sailed in the Columbia River (the Gorge), and the Sacramento River (Rio Vista). I really find it fun to sail in the rivers because you can really feel the current pushing you all over. However, at times I do find sailing in the rivers to be much more difficult than sailing in the ocean or bay.
Starboard or port tack?
Starboard tack! But I really need to work on port haha.
Barefoot or booties?
Barefoot any time I can.
Ocean sailing or river ripping?
River rippinggg!! But also ocean shreddinggg!! I can’t decide!
Rock or Rap?
I like both!
MAC or PC?
I use a macbook pro but I also run windows on it so am I breaking rules here?
Taken or single?
What are you interests beside Windsurfing ?
Location: Copyright Photo: Alex Mertens :: Lost Coast/California
Alex Mertens: Besides windsurfing, I also enjoy video editing, music production, and going on adventures with my friends.
Thanks Alex for the interview. We wish you an endless summer 2018, tons of wind and all the best for your EFPT participation.
Alex is sponsored by the following brands:
|Makani Fins Company|