Legend Richard “Frosty” Hesson, who has surfed in northern California since the 1960s, came from his Santa Cruz home to Half Moon Bay on Jan. 20, where he sat at the sidelines of the Mavericks Invitational Festival.
Around him, a swell of people crowded into the hot parking lot near Harbor Village for the festivities. Flashy food trucks, a Mavs merchandise tent and a large screen that broadcasted footage of the competing surfers caught much attention.
Even with no obvious advertising with which to boast itself, a folding table, sandwiched between the back end of a Red Bull bus and another tent, drew a particularly attentive audience.
Behind it sat Hesson and his wife and fellow surfer, Robin Janiszeufski-Hesson, better known as “Zeuf,” or, Hesson said, “the girl in the curl.”
Coinciding with the October release of the film “Chasing Mavericks,” which features Gerard Butler portraying Hesson, Hesson published a memoir called “Making Mavericks.”
The intimate story chronicles his life, the friendship and mentorship he developed with the big wave phenomenon Jay Moriarity and how he developed philosophies by which to live and teach.
“I know what the movie is truly about,” said Hesson. “It’s about relationships.”
The theme also seems applicable to his life.
The Hessons took a moment to get acquainted with every fan that passed though the line at the festival. She sold books and he shook hands and autographed. Both took the time to make small talk and listen to everyone, invested in the interactions, however brief they may be. Between readers and surfers, Hesson also spoke with the Review.
Review: How has the culture of surfing Mavericks changed since you started surfing it?
Frosty Hesson: The culture I think is the same, and it’s people enjoying pushing the edge and the envelope … The athletes are just phenomenal, and they’re taking big wave riding to new limits.
Review: What do you think of being a role model and mentor to big wave surfers?
Hesson: I think it’s more important to be a role model and mentor in life in general, and use whatever vehicle you need to use to do that.
Review: Do you have anyone that you look up to in particular?
Hesson: Kids, because they’re our future, and that’s the closest thing we have to joy.
Review: What do you think of having Gerard Butler portray you in the film, “Chasing Mavericks?”
Hesson: When I get to hear about multigenerational families from children to … grandparents over 90-years-old, going to the movies, going home, having dessert and discussing the movie, that’s a huge honor.
Review: What do you hope they discuss?
Hesson: It doesn’t matter. Everybody brings what’s relevant to them into the discussion, and that’s how we learn.