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Filmmaker Morgan Maassen and surfer Nole Cossart have gone on a road trip through their home state California. Out of the city, into nature – and always looking for waves along the way.
Morgan takes time out to tell Drift a little about the trip and the film…


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.

The rugged coastlines, massive mountains, and a wild sea – I love it all. This is where I grew up, and this is where I will always come back to. My lifelong passion, the place of my dreams, a catalysts for all my creativity – in California I am truly one with myself.

Respect for life

Cities are not my style. They are too loud, to busy, and devoid of nature. To live in a city is to succumb to metal and glass, where to me, my respect for life comes from being in the great outdoors .

While my passions of photography and filmmaking depend on some of the most advanced technology, my 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

My friend Nole is cut from the same cloth, and we’ve bonded over this since the moment we met. He grew up on the Hollister Ranch,  what I would consider to be 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. Nole’s talents in the water echo back to land, where he can handle his family’s farmland with effortless skill. His style in the water is flawlessly smooth; every movement has got a rhythm. On land, it is that of a delicate confidence and respect.

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Cut off from civilization

For our film, we drove through California together – from the bottom to the top, along the Pacific Coast Highway. We zig-zagged in and out of the coast frequently, to visit such places as the mountains of Santa Ynez and hike through the Los Padres Forest.

Our route continued to Big Sur, one of the most beautiful coastlines of the world. We were traveling through the middle of a crisp winter week, with the Californian light shining even more golden than it does otherwise.

We visited the majestic Redwoods in Muir Woods, traversed the dunes of Point Reyes, and looked out over the cliffs of Half Moon Bay. During these days, a long year of traveling to foreign locations was forgetten as I marveled at my state’s dynamic beauty.

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Borderline experiences

Every trip I take, rain or shine, means the world to me. Some experiences peak at swimming with whales, sleeping under the stars, or surfing perfect waves… while others result in testing the limits of my personal limits.

I’ve nearly drowned in Australia, dodged Stone fish in Reunion island, and been circled by sharks in the Bahamas. But I live for these experiences, for I grow and mature with every moment of joy and struggle thrown at me.

They light 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.

Words and images: Morgan Maassen

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