[i]Behind every great athlete is a coach. Jay Moriarity was no exception.[/i]
When the 16-year-old surfer from Santa Cruz was catapulted into the spotlight after surviving one of the worst wipeouts ever captured on film, he had already been training to surf big waves for four years. His coach and mentor was Santa Cruz surfer Frosty Hesson, a self described “blue-collar construction surf guy.”
A construction superintendent who coached the Pearson Arrow and Soquel High surf teams, Hesson was also one of a handful of Santa Cruz surfers to surf Maverick’s before the wave was exposed to the world by the media.
On Oct. 10, Hesson will release a memoir “Making Mavericks,” through Zola Books. The book will be an e-book exclusive available for download on www.zolabooks.com.
“Making Mavericks” chronicles the life-so-far of one of the main characters in “Chasing Mavericks,” a chronicle of Moriarity’s life. Yet Hesson’s book goes far beyond the story told by Hollywood and the character played by “300” star Gerard Butler.
“It’s been very fascinating, entertaining, amusing, frustrating. Writing a book truly is a big challenge,” Hesson said. He added, “I just hope that people can read it and that they walk away saying, I too, can accomplish,’ because you can.”
In person, Hesson is warm and thoughtful. Tanned and fit, it is obvious that he is still an active surfer. He speaks slowly, choosing his words with care
and revealing the natural coach and philosopher within. His eye-catching, sunbleached hair is more likely to have earned him his nickname, “Frosty,” than his demeanor, as Hesson is interrupted every few minutes by friendly fellow surfers and neighbors strolling along Pleasure Point.
“What I want is for people to be able to succeed at what they want to do,” Hesson said. “It’s a process of helping people know who they are and how to achieve and attain what they want. So many people, especially athletes, are focused on beating the competition. But that’s not what athletic competition is about. It’s about figuring out how good you can be.”
“Making Mavericks” evolved through a series of lengthy phone conversations between Hesson and co-writer Ian Spiegelman. Together, the two were able to create a memoir that is also is a guidebook to Hesson’s well-developed coaching philosophy. Like all good sports metaphors, Hesson’s philosophy extends beyond surfing.
“You have to break down every goal into smaller, achievable steps — and acknowledge accomplishing each one of them,” Hesson wrote in :Making Mavericks.”
“Making Mavericks” is a book for coaches, athletes, surfers and anyone who is looking for inspiration. And although surfing is the medium, its crystal clear that Hesson would have excelled as a coach in any sport he chose.
“It’s easy to make a good athlete. It’s very hard to make a good human being,” Hesson wrote.
In Moriarity, Hesson succeeded at both. Moriarity is remembered not only for his incredible athletic ability and skilled riding of big waves, but also for his love of others, generous nature and kind heart — qualities that are the meat behind the mantra, “Live like Jay.”
“Somehow, Jay was able to transcend all of the things that most surf spots and surf people have, and truly become an ambassador for the sport and lifestyle of surfing,” Hesson said.
When producers Curtis Hanson and Mark Johnson approached Hesson about making a movie about Moriarity’s life, Hesson drove down to Malibu to meet them with strong reservations.
At least the waves were good.
Eventually, Hesson said, the producers won him over with their unshakable commitment to getting Moriarity’s story right.
“I’ve seen the movie; the movie rocks. I cried,” said Hesson. “I think everybody at the screening had a tear. … It really is very touching and complex and moving. They did a really great job.”
He added, “The goal that Kim [Moriarity] and I had, which was to be able to representationally tell Jay’s story in the meaningful way that was Jay, that was accomplished.”
Hesson’s memoir, “Making Mavericks” is set to release Oct. 10 at www.zolabooks.com. The Hollywood adaptation of the story of Moriarity’s life, “Chasing Mavericks” will be in theaters beginning Oct. 26.