Chasing Mavericks is a film released in 2012, but it wasn't widely advertised as far as I was aware, as I had not previously heard of it. Looking for something to watch, we read the synopsis and found that it was based on a real life story. So we gave it a go.
It stars Gerard Butler as Frosty Hesson, but is based on the real-life story of a Californian boy called Jay Moriarity. We first meet Jay as an eight year old, when he is with a little girl by the sea. Frosty rescues him and the two strike up a sort of friendship. It sets Frosty off again with his love for the surf.
Fast forward seven years, and Jay is now 15 years old. Jay sneaks a ride on the van, and sees Frosty and his pals riding a giant surf wave known as "Mavericks". This wave only rides in every seven to ten years. It will peak in three months time. In case you hadn't guessed already, yes, this is a surfer flick, but with a difference.
Jay asks Frosty to train him. Frosty is reluctant, but his wife Brenda persuades him, telling him Jay is going to do it anyway. Frosty gives in, but on condition that Jay learns all the skills to surf, including being able to tread water for 40 minutes, and paddle boarding the 36 miles stretch along the coast from Santa Cruz to Monterey Bay.
Frosty also gives him homework, and he has to write essays. He choices Kim as his first essay. She was the little girl at the start. He gets closer to Kim whilst he trains, and they develop a friendship. Brenda encourages it to be more. Sadly, a few weeks before the big wave, Brenda dies. Frosty is heartbroken and takes off.
Realising where he has gone, Jay heads off after him, paddle-boarding. He finds Frosty, and brings him back. Frosty realises Jay is ready. Frosty tests Jay in the water, and he and his surfer buddies agree Jay is ready to ride Mavericks.
Jay turns 16, and his mum (played by Elisabeth Shue) gives him a radio so he can listen to the weather to track the swell. She knew all along what he was up to, despite his faking her consent. Frosty gives Jay a new board, especially for Mavericks. Unfortunately, despite wanting to keep it secret about Mavericks, a boy Jay is rivals with finds his notebook.
When Jay and Frosty head to the bay, they find a lot of surfers already there. Lots of surfers wipe out on first attempt, including Jay. He tries again though and a tense moment comes when its not clear if he is going to surface again. Frosty reassures Kim, who is also watching on the beach that its ok so long as he stays tethered to the board. The board flips up though and Frosty counts the seconds down on his fingers, as he trained Jay to do.
Finally Jay gets back up and rides Mavericks. Its an emotional scene. I thought it was going to be a sad ending. Thankfully it wasn't. Spoke to soon. A caption comes up after he rides Mavericks and survives and says that he went on to marry Kim. Sadly though, it continues saying that the real life Jay died free diving in the Maldives. The film ends where Frosty, Kim and lots of surfers are holding a memorial for Jay. I was sobbing at this point I have to say. Just 22 when he died, what a tragic loss of a young talented life.
Now, its a pleasant to watch film, and the end is weepy for sure. However, its a bit rigid and stiff, there isn't much dialogue and the characters don't really get explored. You don't really feel all that moved up until the end, as it doesn't seem to spend time building the chemistry. Its nice, Butler is quite good in it, but the acting is a bit of the wooden type. As a surfing film, its not exactly dynamic, but its sweet and its worth a watch. I would only give it a five out of ten though, and a couple of those in respect for the real Jay.