When it came time to find someone for the cover of our March 2015 happiness issue, Stephanie Gilmore immediately came to mind. The star, who's earned six world surfing titles, lives by some simple wisdom: "I'm going to just enjoy exactly where I am." Fortunately for Gilmore, she's usually in places like Hawaii, Mexico, and Sri Lanka, chasing the biggest waves she can find. To capture Gilmore's laid-back attitude, we caught up with Morgan Maassen, one of surfing's best photographers who's shot Gilmore for years on and off the water. "Stephanie always has three things on her: a magic surfboard, some sort of exotic guitar, and her golden smile," says Maassen.
Maassen: Morning surf session in front of the beach house on the North Shore of Hawaii. I love photographing Gilmore and get excited every time the opportunity arises to travel together.
I've never seen someone emit such radiance both in and out of the water. That's why Gilmore represents the pinnacle of a photographic subject to me. But even beyond the photos we take and the places we visit, my favorite part is having a beer with her and listening to her play guitar.
Gilmore charges in for more.
Heading out for one more wave after a long day in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Playing in the water on an off day when conditions weren't right for surfing, but perfect for photography.
Pre-surf coffee at the Quiksilver house in Hawaii.
Like all great surfers, Gimore combines power with style.
Gilmore cruising on a photogenic wave in Hawaii.
There was plenty of power on display at a Mexican point break.
Hawaiian weather is never dull. This morning, we were pleasantly surprised by a rainbow as we waited for waves.
Solitude in Hawaii.
Drifting in the lineup in between sets near Oaxaca, Mexico.