Chasing Mavericks

Chasing Mavericks

Teaser poster
Directed by Curtis Hanson
Michael Apted
Produced by Curtis Hanson
Mark Johnson
Brandon Hooper
Jim Meenaghan
Screenplay by Kario Salem
Story by Jim Meenaghan
Brandon Hooper
Starring Gerard Butler
Jonny Weston
Elisabeth Shue
Abigail Spencer
Music by Chad Fischer
Cinematography Bill Pope
Edited by John Gilbert
Distributed by 20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • October 26, 2012 (2012-10-26)[1]
Running time
116 minutes[2]
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[3]
Box office $8.3 million[4]

Chasing Mavericks is a 2012 American biographical drama film directed by Curtis Hanson and Michael Apted about the life of American surfer Jay Moriarity.[5]

It was the final film directed by Hanson before his death on September 20, 2016.


In 1987 an 8 year-old boy in Santa Cruz, California, Jay Moriarity, is saved from drowning by his next door neighbor, surfer Frosty Hesson (Gerard Butler). This ignites his passion for the sport.

One morning, Jay (Jonny Weston), now 15, sees Frosty leaving early and hitches a ride on his van. He sees Frosty and three of his friends riding a gigantic swell known as Mavericks, which with El Niño coming in will be at its height in three months' time.

Reluctantly, Frosty agrees to teach Jay how to surf Mavericks, but insists that Jay learn about the "foundation pillars of surfing". These involve him learning to paddle board 36 miles from Santa Cruz to Monterey Bay, treading water for 40 minutes and being able to hold his breath for four minutes.

While training, Frosty encourages Jay to write essays to focus on the task. His first essay is about Kim (Leven Rambin), his crush, whose dog he saved when he was 8, which caused him to nearly drown. Jay gets closer to Kim as he trains, partially encouraged by Frosty's wife, Brenda (Abigail Spencer). A few weeks before the biggest swell of the season hits Mavericks, Brenda has a stroke and dies.

A few days later, distraught from Brenda's death, Frosty paddles out into the bay. Jay follows him, and using the knowledge from his training, he helps Frosty back to shore. Frosty realizes that Jay is ready to ride Mavericks. Frosty takes Jay to Mavericks at Half Moon Bay and watches with his three friends as Jay treads water against the tide. The group agrees that Jay is ready to ride with them.

For Jay's 16th birthday on June 15, 1994, his mother (Elisabeth Shue) gives him a radio so he can listen to the weather broadcasts and track the swell. Frosty gives him a custom-made "big wave gun" (a long surfboard especially designed for riding big waves). Kim reveals her feelings for him and they share a kiss.

Frosty had wanted to keep Mavericks a secret, but Jay's notebook that he had been using for preparation ends up in the hands of his rival (Taylor Handley). When Jay and Frosty go to Half Moon Bay, there is a large crowd and boats taking surfers out.

Many of the newcomers wipe out before getting to surf Mavericks. Jay wipes out at first, but then retrieves his board and successfully rides Mavericks. A title card reveals that he married Kim and died at age 22 while free-diving in the Maldives. The film ends with Frosty, Kim, and an assemblage of others holding a surfers' memorial service for Jay.



The film went into production in October 2011[5] with a scheduled release date of October 26, 2012.[6] On December 19, Gerard Butler was hospitalised briefly after being injured during a surfing stunt.[6] Gerard Butler was mentored by big-wave surfer Grant Washburn.[7] Michael Apted received second-position director credit for this film because he took over as director during the last 15 days of principal photography, while Curtis Hanson recovered from complications arising from recent heart surgery.[8]


Chasing Mavericks (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Compilation album by Various
Released October 22, 2012
Genre Alternative rock
Label Relativity Music Group
No. TitleArtist Length
1. "Plowed"  Sponge 3:17
2. "Brimful of Asha"  Cornershop 5:17
3. "Blue Light"  Mazzy Star 5:08
4. "Girlfriend"  Matthew Sweet 3:40
5. "Pepper"  Butthole Surfers 4:56
6. "Start Choppin"  Dinosaur Jr. 5:37
7. "Fade into You"  Mazzy Star 4:54
8. "Into Your Arms"  The Lemonheads 3:54
9. "I Need an Energy"  Greg Holden 4:35
10. "Chasing Mavericks Score Suite"  Chad Fischer 5:57
Other songs used in the film


The film has received mixed reviews from critics. It received a 45% rating from Metacritic. Roger Ebert praised the film, saying that "Chasing Mavericks is made with more care and intelligence than many another film starting with its template might have been. It's better than most movies targeted at teens. And the cinematography of the big Mavericks scene by Oliver Euclid and Bill Pope is so frightening that you sort of understand why Frosty stays on the shore, watching Jay with binoculars." Rotten Tomatoes gives it a score of 31% based on 79 reviews, with the consensus stating: "It's sweet, gentle, and affably modest, but Chasing Mavericks is ultimately pulled under by an unconvincing script and a puzzling lack of energy."

Home media

Chasing Mavericks was released on DVD and Blu-ray Disc on February 26, 2013.


In October 2012 Frosty Hesson published Making Mavericks with Zola Books. The book is a memoir filled with Hesson's life-affirming lessons and described his experience mentoring Jay Moriarity.[9]


  1. "Chasing Mavericks". Retrieved June 3, 2012.
  2. "CHASING MAVERICKS (PG)". British Board of Film Classification. 2013-06-07. Retrieved 2013-06-12.
  3. Kaufman, Amy (2012-10-25). "'Silent Hill' sequel likely to lead lackluster weekend at box office". Retrieved 2013-03-18.
  4. "Chasing Mavericks". Retrieved March 1, 2014.
  5. 1 2 McClintock, Pamela (October 3, 2011). "Fox 2000 Boards Walden Media's Gerard Butler Surfing Pic 'Of Men and Mavericks' (Exclusive)". Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  6. 1 2 "Gerard Butler injured while filming 'Of Men and Mavericks' stunt". DigitalSpy. December 20, 2011. Retrieved December 20, 2011.
  7. Lytal, Cristy (October 28, 2012). "Gerard Butler's surfing mentor? That's Grant Washburn". Los Angeles Times.
  8. Fleming Jr., Michael (November 23, 2011). "Michael Apted To Finish Surf Movie For Curtis Hanson". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 March 2014.
  9. "Making Mavericks: A Memoir by Frosty Hesson". Surfwire. September 6, 2012. Retrieved 2013-09-25.

External links

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