Jay Moriarity (June 16, 1978 – June 15, 2001) was a surfer from Santa Cruz, California. He was an accomplished surfer, waterman, and adventurer. As a surfer, he made his reputation surfing the giant waves at Mavericks in Half Moon Bay, California. At age 16, he was made internationally famous when his wipeout at Mavericks was caught on film by photographer Bob Barbour and made the cover of Surfer magazine. Although a successful competitor, Jay is remembered as a soul surfer, winning many sportsmanship awards throughout his career.
Born in Georgia in 1978, Jay Moriarity and his family moved to Santa Cruz, California, soon after his birth. His father was a Green Beret and traveling most of the time, and Jay immediately took to surfing and quickly became a respected surfer in Santa Cruz. Not limited to either a shortboard or a longboard, he was known as a versatile surfer who appreciated all aspects of surfing. This appreciation was rooted in an overall love for the ocean, seen in his accomplishments as a swimmer, paddler, diver, and fisherman. Achieving success in surfing as a youngster, he became increasingly interested in surfing Mavericks, north of Santa Cruz. After intense physical and mental training with his mentor, close friend and Mavericks regular Frosty Hesson, he began surfing Mavericks at 15 years of age, and soon became a respected regular in the line-up. In 2001, Moriarity co-authored a book with Chris Gallagher entitled, The Ultimate Guide to Surfing. A film, Chasing Mavericks, directed by Curtis Hanson, chronicling the life of Moriarity was released on October 26, 2012, with Jonny Weston playing the role of Jay. The book Making Mavericks, authored by Moriarity's mentor Frosty Hesson, was also published in October 2012.
Jay tragically died one day before his 23rd birthday on June 15, 2001, in the Maldives, drowning in an freediving accident. In the Maldives for an O'Neill Wetsuits photo shoot, he went freediving alone but was not seen after. A search party recovered his body late Friday night. Moriarity left behind his wife Kim Moriarity.
Memorial Paddleboard Race
Jay Moriarity has an annual paddleboard race in his memory, the annual Jay Moriarity Memorial Paddleboard Race aka "The Jay Race" is held in Capitola, Ca. After his death friends and family held a memorial for him out at Pleasure Point. All of Jay's family, friends and both his wife Kim and mentor Frosty, attended.