A fresh look at surfing in Mexico

Ripping Mexican surfer Diego Cadena gets tubed while filming for the upcoming surf doc, Gone. Photo: A. Fuentevilla
Ripping Mexican surfer Diego Cadena gets tubed while filming for the upcoming surf doc "Gone." Photo courtesy A. Fuentevilla

Mark Kronemeyer is a Mexican-American surf filmmaker who splits his time living between Mazatlan and Los Cabos. His first surf film, "Rumors," released in 2011, gained instant acclaim and showed surfers and surf fans alike unseen and incredible waves never before filmed in Mexico as well as spotlighting a handful of incredibly talented Mexican surfers along the way. Kronemeyer's new film, "Gone," aims to continue his documentation and celebration of Mexican surfing and surfers while also showing the trials and tribulations of what it takes to score in the many wave-rich regions of mainland Mexico and the Baja peninsula. We sat down with the man behind "Gone" to get the scoop on his latest cinematic effort.

What is your history with making Mexico-based surf films?
I started traveling and filming in Mexico at a young age, and being from there made it easier to jump on trips all over the country whenever the waves were pumping. Documenting these trips led to my first surf film, "Rumors," which showcased some of Mexico’s best unknown talent along with some elite surfers.

Up and coming Mexican surfer Alex Chacon blast an air. Photo: A. Fuentevilla
Up-and-coming Mexican surfer Alex Chacon blasts an air. Photo courtesy A. Fuentevilla

What are the most common misconceptions about Mexican surfing?
I think most of all is the level of surfing; there are a lot of kids in Mexico with enormous talent. Mexico doesn’t have a lot of opportunities for up-and-coming surfing professionals, so they get very little exposure. It leads people to think there isn’t much going on, but anyone who’s spent a bit of time here knows there is! Another thing that people worry about are the safety concerns, the common perception is that it’s unsafe to go surfing in Mexico. That’s of course not all true. When people finally make their way here, they are surprised to find something completely different.

Tell us about the process of making your latest film, "Gone."
Filming through Mexico is always an adventure, and nothing is ever set or planned. "Gone" is shot as a documentary-style film, making our decisions based on swell direction, tides, and spots accessible for that specific day. This film is mostly based on sessions, which makes the surfers more relaxed and that's when their best surfing shows.

Where was "Gone" filmed?
This film is shot through all of Mexico, starting in Baja and ending in Oaxaca. It was shot at some very famous and a few totally unknown breaks.

Salina Cruz is a Mexican hot spot that keeps on providing insane action. Photo: A. Fuentevilla
Salina Cruz is a Mexican hot spot that keeps on providing insane action. Photo courtesy A. Fuentevilla

Who are the standouts in this film?
Diego Cadena, Nils Schweizer, Brian Conley, Stosh Lindsey, Alex Chacon, and Oscar Moncada, along with a few of their friends and some travelling pros.

What is the future of Mexican surfing looking like?
The future of Mexican surfing really depends on how well we are able to get organized. One of the major setbacks that has always happened in Mexican surfing (and all sports, for that matter) is that we aren’t able to launch any solid programs that effectively groom and manage talent. Things like the NSSA and other leagues like that don’t exist here, so until we have something similar we won’t really see any radical changes.

What keeps you excited about filming and documenting surfing in Mexico?
Our coastline changes every year due to all the hurricanes and big swells we get; this gets me amped on filming because you never know what the wave or new sandbar is going to do. Looking for new angles and filming high-performance surfing in Mexico is also a big motivation.

All roads lead to waves in Baja. Photo: A. Fuentevilla
All roads lead to waves in Baja. Photo courtesy A. Fuentevilla

What do you want the viewer to feel after they watch the movie?
To get out there and be stoked about life and surfing.

For more info and updates for "Gone" by Pargo Media, check out www.gonefilm.tv.

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