A surfer is pouring his passion for the ocean into videos

December 2, 2020 | Surfing
Surfing: a sport that forces us to focus on the present moment | Illustration: Anna Messechkova

Michael Claisse is an independent content creator making animated videos about surfing and the oceans.

The story of Claisse is similar to other people who are drawn to the waves and adrenaline-generating water sports.

He hails from Isle of Palms, a slender barrier island located near Charleston, in South Carolina.

Michael Claisse is a writer.

Recently, he teamed up with illustrator Anna Messechkova to develop a series of how-tos, tutorials, and 101s focusing on surfing, the environment, and surf science.

His simple yet insightful videos bring surfers of all ages and experience levels back to the essence of the sport.

"I love the ocean and thought it would be a good way to explore all things ocean-related," Claisse tells SurferToday.com.

"It's also a bit of a companion piece to my surf blog, kooksonlysurf.com. I think the videos have a surf bias overall, but there's a lot more to the channel than surfing, and hopefully people enjoy that other stuff."

"I think there are a lot of interesting stories around the ocean, and I just wanted somewhere to put all of those."

Passionate, But Not Obsessed

Michael Claisse, 30, hasn't been surfing consistently since he was 14, so he's not the hardcore, wave-obsessed individual who lives and breathes surfing 24/7.

And that's probably a good thing.

Claisse says he has been in "a casual relationship with the sport," even though he has always loved and been around the water one way or another.

"I would say I'm a casual surfer - surfing is just one small part of my love of the ocean," adds the content creator.

"Growing up, my mom sewed sailboat sails, and my dad was a boat captain, so the ocean was always part of my life."

Michael's videos exhale seawater. But how long does it take to develop each clip?

"I work with a couple of artists to make the drawings, then I assemble the pieces into an animation," explains Claisse.

"The videos take a long time - usually 15 hours of editing per five minutes of animation."

"But that's fine. I really do find the video topics interesting, so it's always a positive learning experience to make the videos themselves."

Keeping It Simple

There are not many video editing skills involved in the process.

"I always try to aim for a certain 'vibe.' There's a lot of very fast-paced content on YouTube, which is fine, and obviously people love that stuff - but that doesn't really fit my personality," says the surfer from the Isle of Palms.

"It would feel kind of unnatural to make that type of stuff for me. So I always try to keep my videos a little slower paced, a little more relaxing."

"That's the way that the ocean makes me feel, so that's how I want my videos to feel."

Michael Claisse plans to produce more surf-related videos.

"I think the channel is kind of 'the ocean with a surf bias,' so surfing will be kind of over-represented as compared to other ocean-y subjects," he concludes.

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