The wind that blows south down the California coast pushes up and over the Santa Ynez mountains behind my home in Santa Barbara. You can feel the wind condensing into wet clouds at the top.
Road tripping with prAna Ambassador Nole Cossart, photographer Morgan Maassen, and Mercedes Benz. By Nole Cossart
Sometimes I have to pinch myself – “Is this real?”
Occasionally the moment seems too good to be true, and it strikes me as if it’s a snapshot. All the references to past and future fall away, and I’m left with is the image of the moment and sense of astonishment. In recent years I’ve had to shake off this sensation with a laugh of disbelief. I can’t believe I’m fortunate enough to be living this moment.
Most recently I was struck by this sensation on a road trip through my home state of California with one of my best friends, Morgan Maassen. Morgan is a gifted photographer and a while back Mercedes Benz asked him to dream up a short film that features one of its cars. He immediately knew he would take the opportunity to wander up the California coast with one of his friends (lucky me!), surfing along the way from L.A. to San Francisco.
It’s mesmerizing how the land and sea swirl together on the Central California coast.
It takes some time and effort to find moments alone in the surf, but every one of them are worth it.
It’s the kind of trip that’s often casually planned over beers by a fire, but later those plans are pushed aside and filed in the back of our minds under “someday.” It’s easy to walk out the front door and hit the road. The challenge always seems to be making time to do it. But whether it’s in a Mercedes GLC or a funky old van, it’s hard to shake the sense of gratitude when we give ourselves the time to wander down the highway.
Most days of the year the wind blows from the north—side shore on most of the coast. Wait for day’s end, however, and you’ll often find the wind dies and the waves get clean during the golden hour.
Looking for the ocean over the cattle grazed hills on the Central Coast.
So many notches in the coastline where the rolling hills meet the sea.
To me, nothing feels more like California and my home than soft golden hills dotted with oak trees.
It’s no wonder Steinbeck loved the place.
Hiking through hills of a cattle ranch in Gaviota. Besides a few houses and the freeway, this region has been pretty much unchanged since cattle ranching was established here about 200 years ago.
Oaks are my favorite trees. I love their shape and their quiet, grassy groves. I grew up climbing them and they are perfect for tree houses.
Warmth makes the difference between feeling tense or relaxed in the ocean, especially when taking a set on the head in huge cold surf. A little extra rubber goes a long way.
This is my favorite photo I have of myself surfing. Morgan captured the essence of what draws people to the sport and keeps them coming back—that feeling of flying.
Surfing is immersive – it brings us intimately close to our landscape.
Being in the ocean is only half the joy and beauty of surfing; the other is in the search.