Heart and home.
Water and waves play an essential role in Morgan Maassen’s life. In 2015 he spent more than 300 days traveling across the globe – and despite his young age, the 26-year-old has already experienced a lot. “I’ve flown over glaciers in Greenland, smoked cigars in Cuba, chased penguins in South Africa and sailed between the British Virgin Islands.
But no matter how exotic the location I find myself in, nothing inspires me more than my home: California”, explains Maassen. His heart remains on the rough shores of his home town Santa Barbara. This is where he grew up and where he will always come back to. “The rugged coastlines, massive mountains, and a wild sea – I love it all. California is my lifelong passion, the place of my dreams, a catalyst for all my creativity – here I am truly one with myself.”
Respect for Life.
As a person, Morgan feels strongly connected to nature. He can’t stand to be in a city for too long. “My respect for life comes from being in the great outdoors”, explains Maassen. His passions of photography and filmmaking depend on some of the most advanced technology, but his lifestyle and pursuits are always in the opposite direction. “I’m extremely curious, and nature holds all of the answers I seek.”
In harmony with nature.
Morgan Maassen and his friend Nole Cossart have known each other since forever. Both are cut from the same cloth, and they have bonded over this since the moment they’ve met. Cossart grew up on the Hollister Ranch, which is one of the most beautiful nature reserves in California. “When you live there you become either a cowboy or a surfer, or in Nole’s case, both”, says Maassen. Both require to respect and embrace nature.
Even though he is a really good surfer, Cossart decided against a career as a professional surfer when his daughter was born. “Nole’s style in the water is flawlessly smooth; every moment has got a rhythm. On land, it is that of a delicate confidence and respect”, explains Maassen.
Cut off from civilization.
For their film, Maassen and Cossart went on a road trip to explore their home state California. They drove from south to north, followed the Pacific Coast Highway and zig-zagged in and out of the coast frequently. “We drove to the mountains of Santa Ynez, went hiking through the Los Padres Forest and traversed the dunes of Point Reyes. Our route continued to Big Sur, one of the most beautiful coastlines of the world, and we visited the majestic Redwoods in Muir Woods.
Amongst these giants you are cut off from civilization.” They were traveling through a crisp winter week, with the Californian sun shining even more golden than it does otherwise. Maassen and Cossart were always looking for waves during their trip. “During these days, a long year of traveling to foreign locations was forgotten as I marveled at my state’s dynamic beauty”, says Maassen.
If you travel a lot, it also brings some hardship with it, but Maassen appreciates every single one of his journeys. Some of them lead to a unique experience, while others test his personal limits. “I’ve been swimming with whales, I slept outside under a sky full of stars and I’ve been riding perfect waves.
But I’ve also nearly drowned once in Australia, dodged Stone fish in Reunion island, and been circled by sharks in the Bahamas. I live for these experiences, for I grow and mature with every moment of joy and struggle thrown at me”, explains Maassen. These experiences encourage him to follow his path and keep testing his limits. Maassen: “This lights the fire inside of me to keep going, to keep pursuing not the act of taking a perfect photograph, but the euphoria that comes with earning it.”