Life of Jay Moriarity celebrated in new surf film

Mavericks surfer and his mentor to be focus of movie filmed in Northern California surfing towns. Photo: Ed Grant

HALF MOON BAY, Calif., October 18, 2011—It’s been 10 years since Jay Moriarity’s death in a free-diving accident in the Indian Ocean, but the phrase “Live like Jay” is still heard on a regular basis in the Northern California surfing towns of Santa Cruz and Half Moon Bay.

The young surfer with an infectious smile and good-hearted attitude is the subject of an upcoming film, “Of Men and Mavericks,” which will focus on the story of Moriarity’s quest to surf Northern California’s dangerous wave, and the local legend who became his mentor.

The film is directed by Curtis Hanson and stars Gerard Butler as Moriarity’s mentor, Rick “Frosty” Hesson, and Jonny Weston as Jay Moriarity. Other cast members include Elisabeth Shue (as Christy Moriarity, Jay’s mother), Abigail Spencer (as Hesson’s first wife, Brenda Hesson) and Leven Rambin (as Moriarity’s wife, Kim). 

Paddling out for the reenactment of Jay’s memorial. (Photo: Ed Grant)

Paddling out for the reenactment of Jay’s memorial. (Photo: Ed Grant)

Mavericks surfers such as Greg Long, Peter Mel, Zach Wormhoudt and Jeff Clark—the original Mavericks surfer, who rode the wave alone for 15 years—will also be included in the film. 

Walden Media, the production company for “Of Men and Mavericks,” began filming this month, on the eve of the big wave’s season—which generally runs from early November through March.

Moriarity is still missed here, and it’s one reason why Friday’s recreation of his memorial paddle out in Santa Cruz (shortly after his death, the day before his 23rd birthday in June 2001) drew hundreds of surfers to be part of the event. After filming wraps in Santa Cruz, crews move on to Half Moon Bay for Mavericks footage. Filming is scheduled to wrap up in December, 2011.

The picture’s release date is Oct. 26, 2012.

A video of Jay surfing can be found on You Tube.  

Jill K. Robinson is an award-winning journalist and adventure seeker. Follow her adventures on, her Facebook fan page and Twitter @dangerjr. Jill and her husband are avid kayakers and own Half Moon Bay Kayak Company.

This article is the copyrighted property of the writer and Communities @ Written permission must be obtained before reprint in online or print media. REPRINTING TWTC CONTENT WITHOUT PERMISSION AND/OR PAYMENT IS THEFT AND PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

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Jill K. Robinson

An award-winning journalist and adventure seeker, Jill K. Robinson has been a columnist with The Washington Times, Communities section since 2011.

Her work has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, American Way, Every Day With Rachael Ray, Robb Report, Westways, Journey, Let's Go with Ryanair, World Hum, Gadling, Lonely Planet and more. She lives in a small California beach town near the big wave surf spot, Mavericks, and divides her time between writing about travel, running a kayak business and trying to wring awe-inspiring adventure out of every day.

Always eager to take a leap into the unknown and experience new things, Jill shares adventure sport and travel highlights—even when the adventure isn’t adrenaline pumping or bone crushing. Adventure is sometimes only a state of mind.

Find Jill on and Twitter @dangerjr 

Contact Jill K. Robinson


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