Critically acclaimed for his captivating photography and coveted by clients Apple, Red Bull, Nike & Quicksilver, Morgan Maassen has continued to develop an undeniable eye for documenting surf lifestyle and culture. He returns now with the mesmerising film, ‘Goddesses’.
Capturing Tahiti’s first female Junior World Surfing Champion Vahine Fierro (frequent surfer of the world’s heaviest wave in Teahupo’o, Tahiti) alongside sisters Kohai & Heimiti and surrounded by the backdrop of their home islands in Tahiti, Maassen has provided a beautiful and unique perspective to the story and culture that surrounds the Fierro’s.
Vahine herself is a force to be reckoned with. At just 21 years old, she’s ranked #18 in the Women’s QS, and is Tahiti’s first female world surfing champion, taking out the World Junior Championship in 2017 in Sydney, Australia. Fierro’s achievements include many WSL QS final finishes at events stretching from Hawaii to South Africa and Sydney to China, as well as winning Best Barrel Of The Year as part of the 2019 Surfer Awards.
Having first approached Vahine in the water at Teahupo’o, Morgan Maassen’s reputation immediately impressed, with the opportunity to work with Morgan considered an honor by Fierro. Maassen was deeply inspired by their lifestyle and wanted to share it with his audience.
I felt so honoured. I always admired Morgan’s edit with Stephanie Gilmore and wished that I could do the same. It was one of my dreams coming true. He captured everything he needed to showcase what my sister and I are about… most of the time real life moments. The kinds that make us feel connected and alive.
‘Goddesses’encapsulates the feeling, culture and way of life that supports Vahine and her sisters in all that they do. From the serene jungle shots, to the bond that they share as sisters, to the lyrical messaging of the sonics behind the film, the final version culminates in an ethereal yet accurate depiction of their lifestyle and beliefs.
All the places he captured are places we grew up in. That jungle, that river, is our whole childhood. It’s our first playground where we used to do our own makeup with the river clay and build treehouses with our parents and cousins. This isn’t just another surfing video, this is about raw moments and a real representation of our story, culture and where we truly come from.
Morgan Maassen spent two weeks in and around the islands of Tahiti. Each day would involve surfing with the girls, having fun and working to grow a deeper understanding of the connection the sisters share; with each other and with the land.
“My obsession with Tahiti started one decade ago, during a week-long visit for a lifestyle shoot at the age of twenty. The mountains, sea, dense jungle and perfect waves made their case in a matter of seconds, and I was hooked, paving the way for me to return at every opportunity possible. Over the years of visiting what I’d reckon to be the most beautiful place in the world, I’ve also met some outstanding characters, forged by the power of their connection with the land and sea. Recently, I’ve had the honor and pleasure of getting to know the Fierro family. Loving parents Andrew and Hina have raised three young women who are pushing women’s surfing while gracefully sharing their Tahitian lifestyle with the world.
Vahine, Heimiti, and Kohai exude the vibrancy of life, and do it together. Their bond is nothing short of magic; these young women are woven into each other’s growth and success. Watching them knock on the door of Teahupo’o one-by-one, Vahine leading the way into some of the heaviest waves I’ve ever seen women surf, is enthralling. And so, to visit them at their home, to spend time with the family, to explore nature and the sea with them, all the while chasing swells and watching these women charge bigger and bigger surf, has been utterly moving. I am such a huge fan of these sisters, and the opportunity to point my lens at them as they live and grow was the thrill of a lifetime.
‘Goddesses’ by Morgan Maassen, featuring Vahine, Kohai & Hemiti Fierro is out Monday, October 25th AEST
I hope you enjoy what we have been up to this past year when I was at home, with the people that I love the most. Morgan – you are something special, thank you so much!