Montgomery "Buttons" Kaluhiokalani, a Hawaiian surfing legend immortalized at Malibu, November 9th, 2013
It is with great sadness that Buttons Kaluhiokalani passed away in California, surrounded by his family and friends. Buttons was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer.
Kelly Slater... "When I was about 8 years old, I saw a surf movie with 'Buttons' Kaluhiokalani and he immediately became #MyFavoriteSurfer. He was switching stances and sliding 360's in the tube and doing carving 3's. Surfing just looked like more fun the way he did it. He surfed the way I wished I could mind surf. He had a 'fro Rob Machado would kill for and a physique in his 50's of someone in their 20's. He planted more seeds in people's brains than he could have ever known. Buttons, we'll all miss your stoke and big smile and seeing you at Chun's giving surf lessons every day. Thank you for the inspiration and ideas. Give #AIForever a big high five for us all! Love to all your friends and family."
Buttons Kaluhiokalani was a former Hawaiian Pro Surfer and is well known for his radical and stylish surfing. In 1973, at the age of 13, Buttons traveled to the US Championships in Malibu, California, as an amateur, where he placed second. Seven years later, Buttons won the Sunkist Open at Malibu.
During the 70′s Buttons really perfected the progressive style of surfing he is so well known for. Uncle Eddie Rothman calls him “the Innovator of Modern Day Surfing.” Buttons was the first to perform a carving 360 on film.
A true Style Master, Buttons is renowned for his pocket surfing, switch foot and skateboard inspired maneuvers.
In addition to his lifelong pursuit of riding waves, Buttons also ran Buttons Surf School on the North Shore of Oahu. He would teach anyone, at any skill level or age, the joy of riding waves. Buttons was also very generous, volunteering with many charities including the Mauli Ola Foundation and AccesSurf, where he would share his love of the waves with disabled children and adults.
Buttons was always willing to give and share with a smile; a true Ambassador of Aloha.
Buttons is survived by his wife Hiriata Hart, his eight children, and nine grandchildren. Please keep Buttons ohana in your thoughts and prayers.
Music: Brother Noland, "Ka Ipo Lei Manu"
Buttons Photo: Thank you Morgan Maassen for the amazing portrait of Buttons.