Two masters of their craft uniting is a beautiful thing.
Morgan Maassen and Stephanie Gilmore has been one of our favorite surfer/photographer/filmmaker collaborations in surfing, and it’s a gift that keeps on giving since 2011, when the two first met on a trip to South Mexico. “My world was action surfing. A proverbial ladder I was doing everything in my power to climb as quickly as possible. I was coming in from a shoot in Nicaragua with Craig Anderson and from there, Reunion Island with Jeremy Flores. I knew Dane and Kelly. A contract with Quiksilver to travel the world chasing these guys was dangling like a golden carrot, millimeters away from my fingertips. A phone call came…”
“Can you be in Mexico tomorrow with Stephanie Gilmore?”
Yes, of course, I exclaimed…ever eager to please, hungry to grow…but how did this fit into my agenda? My memory cards were still full from shooting massive full-rotations by Ando. Precious Gigabytes of Jeremy navigating meaty barrels in sharky outer reefs. I landed on a steamy morning in Southern Mexico, dense jungle engulfing all edges of the runway. A long drive and several taco stops later, I was greeted at a dilapidated Mexican compound by a gorgeous, bohemian Australian. Tall, effortlessly stylish and strumming on a ukulele, her smile drew me in like a lighthouse. Rife with ignorance, I knew this person only as a name in the news, an often-overlooked competitor of great prowess but garnering little attention in the male-dominated surf media. I was captivated.” tells Morgan about the first time they met.
Over the years, the pair ended up linking every now and then, producing beautiful short films such as “Dear Sylvia, love Steph” & “Vacation Island”, and surf shots gracing the pages of our cherished publications over the world, including a 16-page retrospective in our latest print issue, Volume IV.
Maasen has been shooting the best for more than a decade now, but confesses that his relation with the graceful Australian has been something special: “The style and grace of Stephanie Gilmore, both in and out of the water, has continued to captivate me since my humble beginnings as a photographer and filmmaker when we first met in 2011. Through thick and thin, I have been fortunate enough to travel the world with a human who inspires me in ways only deserved of the title, ‘Hero’.”
Dive into “South Africa”, the chronicles of Steph and Morgan travelling to J-Bay this summer (with Steph ending up casually winning the J-Bay open) and get your palms on Volume IV to check out “Steph by Morgan” — the full photo series, featuring some of the most iconic moments of their ongoing collaboration.