One of the most influential figures in the surfing world, Jay Moriarity’s legacy lives on today. His inspirational story continues to inspire us. The passion and love he brought to the surfing community and those closest to him reminds us why we do what we do.
Jay was born in Georgia in 1978, but it was not until after his family moved to Santa Cruz, California that he fell in love with surfing. He quickly become a respected surfer in the Santa Cruz community and was recognized for his versatility within the sport and deep love for the ocean. But Jay’s love for surfing never held him back when it came to trying other sports. He was a diversified sportsman who enjoyed swimming, paddling, diving and fishing.
After achieving success in surfing at a young age, Jay became interested in surfing Mavericks, known for incredible winter waves that crest at over 25 feet and top out at over 60 feet. Because surfing Mavericks can be a deadly sport, Jay began vigorous mental and physical training with a Mavericks regular and close friend, Frosty Hesson. By age fifteen, Jay had become a regular in Mavericks line-up.
Jay’s life was one of passion. He put all of his energy into doing what he loved and became one of the best big wave surfers in the world. Sadly, Jay died in a free diving accident in the Indian Ocean in 2001—just days before his 23rd birthday. His death was a devastating blow to the surfing world, but his legacy as an inspiration to young water athletes lives on.
In December 1994, Jay made the cover of Surfer Magazine in a photograph captured by surf photographer Bob Barbour. The photo captures Jay, only sixteen, at the top of a 35-foot Mavericks monster. With this photo, Jay became famous to the world and immortalized his passion for the sport. We took this photo and combined it with one of our Merge4 socks to remind the world to “live like Jay”—with passion, bravery and love for the sea.