Chasing Mavericks, a movie about Jay Moriarity’s story

di Erika Scafuro



There are people who live their lives beyond the limits, as if they already knew their destiny. That is what happened to Jay Moriarity whose surfer story became so legendary that it became a movie.
His life has been told in Chasing Mavericks, a 2012 movie directed by Michael Apted and Curtis Hanson. The movie title encloses the reason why Jay is remembered in the surfing world: at the age of 16 he rides Mavericks. A giant wave, one of the biggest of the world, generating in Northern California off Half Moon Bay.



Born in 1978 Jay grows up in Santa Cruz, California and his life changes when he meets the surfer Richard “Frosty” Hesson and thus discovers the myth of Mavericks. It starts a journey of training and friendship and that leads Jay to ask Frosty to train him to chase this wave.
The movie shows the relationship that creates between the two, how determined Jay is to face this wave and how much Frosty takes time to prepare him for this incredible challenge.
Mavericks not only requires physical strength to face it, like paddle to gain strenght and train the lungs for the breath, Jay must learn how survive into a powerful, giant and fast mass of water that drags under water for several minutes. Frosty in fact trains Jay to the test through various pillars which include mental and spiritual preparation: the evaluation of currents, wind and the dangerous points of the spot, to dose the energy and to write motivational themes about fear and other emotions.

Mavericks forms for the underwater long sloping ramp which gives the speed to reach the surface; with the winter storms waves can reach a height of twenty meters.
Thanks to his preparation and training together with his mentor Frosty, on April 1994 Jay Moriarity dominated Mavericks wave. He was only 16 years old. Jay’s first ride of this mountain of water was immortalized by a photo which became the cover of the Surfer magazine.
After this historic feat and pushing himself to the limit, Jay continued to surf Mavericks and to continue to train his breath.


On June 2001 Jay died drowned while free diving in the Maldives. He was only twentytwo years old.
Together with the emotion of Jay’s untimely death, his way of life has become a motto worldwide: “Live like Jay”, always remember to live a full life, chasing dreams, as he did.
Chasing Mavericks is one of the most emotional surf movies, as well as showing Jay’s incredible bravery, it shows the value of friendship and how Frosti became a reference point for Jay’s education.

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