Chasing Mavericks is made with more care and intelligence than many another film starting with its template might have been. It's better than most movies targeted at teens. And the cinematography of the big Mavericks scene by Oliver Euclid and Bill Pope is so frightening that you sort of understand why Frosty stays on the shore, watching Jay with binoculars.
—Roger Ebert Chicago Sun Times
Chasing Mavericks may treat its characters with a little too much reverence, but it gives its titular subject its awe-inspiring due.
—Mary Pols Time
The reason to see Chasing Mavericks is the same reason why people flock to shore locations when a hurricane approaches: the waves. This is less effective as a bio-pic of Jay Moriarty than it is as a big screen National Geographic Special.
—James Berardinelli Reel Views
The surfing sequences are some of the best I've ever seen in a film, and the re-creation of Jay's climactic battle to ride El Nino-driven waves is real white-knuckle stuff...But neither Curtis Hanson ("L.A. Confidential") nor the fellow veteran director who replaced him when Hanson took ill, Michael Apted ("Gorillas in the Mist"), can do much with the hokey sequences on land.
—Lou Lumenick New York Post
As it turns out, the only truly interesting element about this clichéd surfer flick is that it was made by celebrated directors Michael Apted and Curtis Hanson.
—Elizabeth Weitzman New York Daily News