Take a vacation — The world renowned surfer is captured by friend and filmmaker Morgan Maassen in his latest wanderlust-evoking short film, shot in the North Shore of Oahu.

As complicated as life gets, there are always a few things that are relaxing: sitting under the shade of a tree during summer, for example, or reading a book by the pool with a cold beer. At times, we city dwellers might even dare to dream of spending hours in the ocean, surfing in one of the most beautiful landscapes the world has to offer – which unfortunately is a little harder to achieve. For world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore and image-maker Morgan Maassen, however, that daydream is everyday life.

In his latest short film, Morgan takes us to Hawaii, capturing the carefree way that Stephanie glides through the transparent water, surfing with her uniquely relaxed style. In the background, a dreamy track by Brazilian band Boogarins plays, rhythm in sync with the constant movement of the water. All in all, it’s a hypnotic experience.

“Stephanie and I were both in Hawaii for several small commitments, so we decided to just surf, film, and relax,” Morgan says of the setting. “Normally when filming, I have high expectations for weather, surfing, and content creation. This was the exact opposite. I think I surfed more than I filmed, and while the conditions were not great, it was probably the most fun two weeks of my life. We rode so many weird boards and just spent as much time as possible surfing whatever wave looked most fun or playing music. It was also a really fresh approach to visiting the North Shore of Oahu during those super chaotic weeks of the Pipemasters.”

Morgan is well-known as a photographer and filmmaker, travelling the world and shooting everything related to the ocean. His still images retain the movement of the water and the feeling of the beaches, while his moving images bring the enthralling nature of the ocean to life – no words necessary.

“I grew up surfing, hiking, making art, and on boats,” he continues. “As a teenager, I found filmmaking. I worked any and every job I could to save up for cameras and ditched school as much as I could to make little films with my friends… when I was 19, I saved up enough money to travel around the world as a beatnik, and decided to give photography a go. I fell in love immediately, and am now fortunate to be able to do both photography and filmmaking professionally at 26 years old.” Morgan is living the fruit of two lifelong passions – he still remembers being 11 and watching The 5th Symphony Document by Chad Campbell, and how it made him realise that “surfing is the gateway to the world.”

There is something to be said about the beautiful simplicity of surf filmmaking. Yes, someone can spend hours making a complex and beautiful documentary related to surfing and the communities it brings together, or drag along a wealth of equipment to capture the waves and their power as close as possible – but something just as beautiful and enthralling can be built with two friends and a keen eye.

“I think surfers, in the sea, enjoy a luxury unlike anything else in this world,” Morgan says. “The beauty of the ocean, the wildness of riding a wave, there is nothing like it. The simple beauty of the act is breathtaking.”

You can see more of Morgan’s work on his website.

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