|REEL FACE:||REAL FACE:|
South Carolina, USA
Born: June 16, 1978
Birthplace: Georgia, USA
Death: June 15, 2001, Maldive Islands, Indian Ocean (drowned while free-diving)
Photo by Bob Barbour
Born: November 13, 1969
Paisley, Scotland, UK
Rick "Frosty" Hesson
Born: September 6, 1949
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, USA
Born: May 17, 1990
Houston, Texas, USA
Born: July 16, 1976
Born: August 4, 1981
Gulf Breeze, Florida, USA
Birthplace: Annapolis, Maryland, USA
Death: Dominican Hospital, Santa Cruz, California, USA (aneurysm)
Yes. Before he allowed Jay to paddle out at Mavericks, the real Jay Moriarity completed 55 essays for Frosty, mostly on the subject of surfing. Each essay was at minimum two pages long. Then a lengthy two-hour discussion would take place, often after revisions to the original essay. They mostly talked sitting in the front seat of Frosty's van, but sometimes the essays would require them to head to the beach (Mavsurfer.com). Jay's widow Kim remembers the essays, "[Hesson] didn't think he would do it," says Kim. "Well, he did it and went above and beyond it. That's when Frosty knew he was serious." (Santa Cruz Sentinel)
Yes. The Chasing Mavericks true story reveals that the real Jay Moriarity worked part-time at Pleasure Pizza on the east side of Santa Cruz. The actual pizza shop served as a shooting location and is featured in the movie.
Yes. Frosty Hesson's second wife, Brenda, who was the mother of two of his three children, passed away of a stroke.
No. Unlike the 12-week training program depicted in the movie, the real Frosty Hesson worked with Jay for nearly four years before he let him take on the big waves at Mavericks. Frosty had been training Jay for two and a half years before Jay even brought up the possibility of Mavericks, and it would be another year and a half before Frosty let him paddle out at Half Moon Bay. -Making Mavericks
The real Jay Moriarity was sixteen when he first took on the legendary waves at Mavericks. "To say that Mavericks isn't for kids is doing it an injustice," writes Frosty Hesson. "It's hardly for people." -Making Mavericks
No. Unlike what the Chasing Mavericks movie implies, Jay had surfed Mavericks for eight months prior to his famous 1994 wipeout. He began surfing the waves at Mavericks earlier in that season. However, he didn't even have a full season at Mavs under his belt when the wipeout took place. -Making Mavericks
At the time of Jay Moriarity's legendary wipeout at Mavericks, his mentor, Frosty Hesson, had been surfing the spot for seven years. -Making Mavericks
In researching the Chasing Mavericks true story, we discovered that Jay Moriarity's mentor, Rick "Frosty" Hesson, got his nickname from his blond turned platinum hair.
Yes. Jay and Kim eloped in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, marrying on August 19, 2000. They had been married less than a year when Jay drowned in the free-diving accident. "I was just numb," says Kim of losing Jay. "I was upside down, turned around in the dark. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I didn't know what to do with myself. I was lost." -Santa Cruz Sentinel
The real Jay Moriarity died on June 15, 2001, the day before his 23rd birthday, while free-diving in the warm, calm, clear waters of the Indian Ocean in the Maldive Islands. He was in the Maldives for a photo shoot for his sponsor O'Neill. As part of his strict training regime, he went free-diving off the coast of the island of Lohifushi. While diving, he often went further down the buoy rope than anyone else, as he focused on exercising the limits of his breath-holding ability. "He went down there, with no mask, no fins," says his widow Kim Moriarity, who estimates that Jay was 80 feet below the surface. "He was just sitting on the bottom, holding his breath as long as he could. Then he came to the surface, and I figured he had a shallow-water blackout before he got to the top." Kim wants to stress that Jay wasn't doing something reckless when he died, which is a common perception. Instead, she believes that he was practicing the sort of training that had made him such a successful big-wave rider. -Santa Cruz Sentinel
Yes. Actor Gerard Butler, who was shooting a scene at Mavericks where his character paddles out to the legendary big wave spot, was held underwater for two waves after a round of rogue waves took him and three of his surfing coaches by surprise. "I'm with the best surfers in the world, and they're just going, 'Paddle, Gerry! Paddle!'" Butler recalled days later. "Then this wave came and just blocked out the sky. It was about 30 feet high." (Mens Journal) Butler's cord got ripped off and he lost his surfboard. He eventually ended up being washed through some rocks, after which a safety patrolman on a jet ski picked him up and took him to shore. Uninjured, he was taken by ambulance to Stanford Medical Center where he was held for observation and then released. The actor was not an experienced surfer and had not surfed much prior to shooting the movie (KSBW Action News 8)
It is well known that Mavericks is named after a dog named Maverick, who is often credited with being the first to surf the location. However, as to who the dog's owner was, most sources point to two different individuals. The first is surfer Jeff Clark who opened the Mavericks Surf Shop. The second is the roommate of surfer Alex Matienzo. Alex reportedly surfed Mavericks in the 1960s with fellow surfers Jim Thompson and Dick Notmeyer. As that story goes, he brought the white-haired German Shepherd to Pillar Point and left him on shore. As the trio paddled out, they noticed that the dog was paddling out to join them. Matienzo took the dog back to shore and tied him up. Matienzo's story appears in Matt Warshaw's book Maverick's: The Story of Big-Wave Surfing. The story has proliferated online because of it being recounted on the collaborative information sharing website Wikipedia.
Yes. Actor Jonny Weston, in his first major role, says that he had in fact surfed prior to making the movie. However, he points out that he had never surfed on a longboard before the movie and that it was a bit ironic that it was the real Frosty Hesson who taught him how to surf on a longboard for the film.
Yes. During our investigation into the Chasing Mavericks true story, we learned that Jay's wife Kim was often on set and spent quite a bit of time with both her onscreen counterpart, actress Leven Rambin, and actor Jonny Weston, who plays Jay in the movie. The real Frosty Hesson was also on set and taught actor Jonny Weston how to surf on a longboard. "Anybody who was integral to the story was around," says actress Abigail Spencer (Brenda in the movie), "and they were always welcome to come to set and be a part of it. In Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay the communities got behind it and we had lots of local surfers involved, which really helped bring everything together." -Surfer Magazine
Watch the Jay Moriarity wipeout video and listen to Jay talk about how he managed to survive. Also, watch a video on the science behind what makes the waves at Mavericks so big.
WATCHJay Moriarity Talks About His Wipeout
In this interview, the real Jay Moriarity
describes his infamous wipeout that
occured on December 19, 1994. After
falling thirty-five feet from the top of
the wave and bouncing off the bottom of
the ocean floor, he used his feet to push
off the bottom and he swam as hard as he
could for the surface before the second
wave came crashing down. Video of the Jay
Moriarity wipeout accompanies the
WATCHJay Moriarity Funeral Footage
Watch video of Jay Moriarity's funeral
service held on June 26, 2001
at Pleasure Point near Santa Cruz,
CA. Towards the end of the video, you can
see hundreds of surfers throwing water
into the air in honor of Jay, which
corresponds to the scene at the end of the
Chasing Mavericks movie.
WATCHThe Science Behind Mavericks' Waves
Just off the coast of Northern California,
to the north of Half Moon Bay, a legendary
surf spot known as "Mavericks" generates
some of the biggest waves in the world.
This video explores the science behind
what makes the waves at Mavericks so big.
WATCHChasing Mavericks Trailer
Watch the Chasing Mavericks movie
trailer for the film starring Gerard
Butler and Jonny Weston. The movie tells
the story of legendary big wave surfer Jay
Moriarity and his mentor Rick "Frosty"
Hesson, who teaches him how to surf
Mavericks, a California surfing location
that is home to some of the biggest waves
in the world.