October 21, 2012
Scott Anderson was standing on the cliff at Mavericks on the San Mateo County coast last spring, where he’d spent weeks filming the soulful surfing movie “Chasing Mavericks,” watching what looked like a flea gliding across the face of a wave the height of a five-story building.
“Then you realize it’s somebody on a jet ski. And you realize, that wave is huge!” says Anderson, the Oscar-winning visual effects supervisor who surfs when he’s not making movies. He’s not in the rarefied league of the big-wave surfers who risk their lives to ride the 60- to 80-foot winter waves that rise up at Mavericks, but he’s a regular at San Francisco’s Ocean Beach. Twenty years ago, Anderson moved out to the Great Highway – where he owns the last of the charming Carville-by-the-Sea houses made of old cable cars – to be close to the cold churning waters he loves to surf.
Beloved young surfer
Naturally, he was keen to work with director Curtis Hanson (“L.A. Confidential,” “The River Wild,” “8 Mile“) on “Chasing Mavericks,” which hits screens Friday. It’s the story of the beloved young Santa Cruz surfer Jay Moriarity (Jonny Weston), who first rode Mavericks at 16, and his relationship with his reluctant mentor, Frosty (Gerard Butler), who trained him physically and mentally to navigate those giant waves and survive their onslaught.
It’s also the story of the close Santa Cruz surfing community, whose members painted the phrase “Live like Jay” around town after Moriarity drowned in a free-diving accident in the Maldives the day before his 22nd birthday.