I don’t really talk about Jay too much. It’s just one of those things. Jay started seeing me when he was about 20 or 21 – just this young kid who didn’t really have any money, but he really wanted to become a world class surfer and was doing everything in his power to be the best he could be. He showed it in his attitude and his behavior and his demeanor. So when he came to me and asked if he can train with me, how could I say no? It was one of those things that was pro bono and we kept it under cover.
Jay came in a couple days a week to train while working out with Rick “Frosty” Hesson his surfing mentor. The goal was to get Jay in better condition, stronger, more fit, more flexible, and getting ready for the winter swells when they came through at Mavericks. No matter how much I threw at him he always came back with a smile and said thank you at the end. That’s just the way Jay was.
It was a big kick in the stomach. I was out of town in June of 2001 and when I came back I found out what had happened, where he had a diving accident. He was out doing some breath holding underwater off the Maldives. Some guys were nearby but he was doing it by himself which unfortunately he shouldn’t have done. He knew better. He just blacked out and everyone left thinking he was still training, but his gear was still on the pier when they came back and saw that it was still there, and of course they found him. It was the day before his 23rd birthday.
The last memory I have of Jay is him coming in for his last workout and just saying ‘OK, I’ll see you when I get back’ and that was the last of it. So I don’t really talk about Jay too much – it’s just a sore spot, just a real hard spot. You won’t find me in the movie; you won’t really find any story about it. It was just something between him and I that was pretty cool.
For what it’s worth, everything that’s been said about Jay I can’t say enough. He evoked stoke and just had this joie de vivre, this joy of living, and never did I see him in a sour state. He was always coming in, ready for the next workout, and just being stoked no matter where he was. It’s a rare thing to come across such individuals in your life, so when they do cross your path, they stand out and are memorable. I just wish his life continued on further than it did, but he gave some good gifts to a lot of people around here and it was pretty cool.