Who is Alex Kirkland?
Born in Minneapolis in 2001, Alex Kirkland is a true Minnesotan having spent his entire life in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. Alex first strapped in to a snowboard at the tender age of five following in the tracks of his father who was an avid snowboarder himself. Shortly thereafter his brother Brandon caught the snowboarding bug and from then on it was truly a family affair.
Alex’s second home growing up were the lifts and ropes of Hyland Hills. For up to five days (mostly nights) a week this was a snowboard daycare of sorts for Alex and his brother. At just 12 years old Alex filmed his first video part shared with his brother launching them into a passion for stacking clips that eventually led to The Onlookers a small crew of street based boarders who have put out a bunch of heavy vids and stand alone parts over the years.
Alex’s has his own unique and remarkable approach to snowboarding effortlessly leaping onto chest high rails and performing crazy balance beam acts. A deep trick bag, a great attitude and a college education at the University of Minnesota all add up to make this Accounting Major a majorly interesting dude.
We had the opportunity to sit down with Alex to learn more about who he is and what he’s all about.
Interview: Al Grogan
Photos: Tim Zimmerman
Alex, what have you been up to this summer?
This summer has been a bit different than past summers because I had an accounting internship for most of it. But now I’m back in school so a bit of a change of gears from going to working to being in school but I like it since I’ve always kind of enjoyed school. Other than that, this summer I’ve just tried to stay busy I was skateboarding a good amount which I think I’ve done for most summers now. But then kind of our whole crew got into playing soccer so we’re doing that for a good amount of the summer and then now it seems like we’ve got into playing tennis so yeah just kinda doing whatever seems fun to do with everyone is kind of what I’ve been up to all summer.
We know you’ve made a lot of video parts for your young age. How many? And which one are you most proud of?
I think I have filmed 8 video parts now. Which is crazy to think because the first time I went to a spot I was 13, which was mainly because my brother got the invite so I tagged along. So, I’m so grateful to everyone who put up with me when I was that young haha. But I’ve been lucky enough to have people to film with ever since because filming a video part takes so many people. As for what video I’m most hyped on is hard because I’ve been hyped on all of them for different reasons, but I think the part I’m most proud of is my part in Retrograde. Retrograde was just really special to me because that was the first part I had ever had in a team video which was super cool to me. But also, I’m not sure if I was supposed to film much for that video, at least I don’t think it was expected of me to have a full part. I think that was because I was still in high school and there was going to be bigger names in the video. But my friend Dan was making that video who had made every Onlookers so I went to every spot that winter with the crew. I was super lucky to have filmed a lot and Dan and Trevor who were editing it and they gave me ender in the video. That was the first time I had ever had last part which was so crazy especially because that was the biggest video I had ever filmed for. Also, I had met Pete owner of IPP when I was 10 and I had always looked up to him, so to have filmed for his video was crazy.
What’s up with your crew, the Onlookers, can you tell us a little more about that?
At this point we are good friends and hang out all the time I think it started about five years ago now when our good friend Evan moved out here that was the second year Dan had lived in Minnesota. We wanted to film a video and we decided that we should have a crew name, Dan came up with onlookers and we’ve just rolled with it ever since because we like the name. It was all super natural though because a few of them already lived in a house together and we already hung out all the time. Now we skateboard all the time together or do a lot of other random activities together in the summer. So yeah, I’d say it really started out as snowboarding but now we’re all such good friends that we do most things together which is really cool to have a crew to do stuff with.
What are you choosing, metal or pow?
Sad to say because I pretty much only ride steel but I’m probably choosing to powder I think that’s mainly just because being from Minnesota I never get the chance to ride powder. I rode powder one-time last year and that was when I went to Washington to visit Matteo. Those couple of days of rding powder in Seattle were so much fun. So maybe if I was riding powder single day, I’d choose steel. I love hitting rails and I wouldn’t give it up but definitely since I never get to do it probably choosing powder.
What’s the story behind how you got involved with Mervin?
I mean getting involved with Mervin was definitely just because of Matteo. Which is kind of crazy to think that just becoming friends with one person got me involved with this brand but I’m so grateful to Matteo. Really the story was I met Matteo when him and I worked at worked at high cascade. At the time I was in between brands since Interior Plain Project had ended I think a year before I worked there. Pretty much after snowboarding with Matteo for maybe a week or so he was like you should ride for Mervin. I think with him in my ear enough and having ridden the boards I was super down. Then luckily Al was down for me to be on Mervin and yeah, I’m so grateful that that whole process happened because I love the history behind Mervin I love riding the boards so I can’t ask for a better situation.
What was your favorite moment/ memory that happened during the whole process of creating the Off Ramp and the Off Ramp video?
I think my favorite memory from making the Off Ramp was probably the first time when we all tested the boards at Hood it was such a fun trip, we camped in the woods in Oregon and snowboarded during the day. Hood is definitely my favorite place to snowboard so that whole time was super cool. As for creating the offramp video definitely the best moment was when Matteo landed that crippler off the wall just because I mean no one in Minnesota flips like that or really does anything that similar, so to watch it in person was super cool. Also, that spot wasn’t really working that well and he was about to give up until we made one last tweak to the jump. And then when he landed it the whole was so hyped. So, because of everything that went into that clip that was definitely the most hyped I was on the trip, and therefore the best moment.
On a snowboard, you’re known for having some of the best board balance and hops. What’s your secret?
I’m honestly not sure I think it’s probably just a lot of practice haha. As for balance I think I get bored at Hyland sometimes so it entertains me to see how slow I can go on a rail. So I think that has really helped me learn how to balance on rails better. As for jumping over stuff I think that is also just because at hyland I’ll also get bored of like using the lips all the time so I just jump on stuff without a lip. I think that’s kind of how that came about but really no secret that I know of. I also think it helps that I’m tall haha. I think it’s really been just riding hyland a lot and just snowboarding like lot and trying different things.
How do you see your future?
I see my future hopefully going on more trips with Lib Tech I mean I definitely want to snowboard for as long as I can. I would love to be able to snowboard in other places and film stuff not just in Minnesota, but I mean as of now I don’t see why I’d stopped filming videos. I’ve been doing it for as long as I really remember so I don’t see stopping anytime soon. As for more of a long term future I have my degree in accounting so I guess after snowboarding probably do accounting work but I don’t know I’d like to become a professor one day but I think that’s still a ways in the future and for now I just want to snowboard and continue to film.