Saturday, April 01, 2006

Buttons


SW WIND 15 TO 20 KT.
WIND WAVES 4 FT.
W SWELL 8 FT AT 11 SECONDS.
TONIGHT S WIND 20 TO 25 KT...RISING TO 30 KT WITH GUSTS TO 35 KT AFTER MIDNIGHT. COMBINED SEAS 11 FT DOMINANT PERIOD 11 SECONDS.

Exuberant…Spontaneous…Innovator…Unpredictable…Colorful

Montgomery Earnest Thomas Kaluhiokalani…who?

“Buttons” Kaluhiokalani, the fabled 1980s surf genius has made a stirring reentry into active surfing. His style, along with Larry Bertlemann’s, foreshadowed the direction surfing would take in the late 80’s and 1990’s…and even further, influenced and popularized skateboarding as their loose, spontaneous style was emulated by upcoming generations. Tailslides, 360’s and other skate inspired moves that are common today were invented or developed by Kaluhiokalani, Bertlemann and other young Hawaiian surfers.

Buttons began surfing competitively around 1970, culminating in a runner-up finish of the Boys' Division in the ‘73 US Championships at Malibu. He became a surf star despite a spotty contest record, where he had difficulty adapting his spontaneous style to the rules of contests. Although he won several contests, the furthest he ever ascended in the rankings was 27th in 1981; the same year that, during the Pipe Masters, Buttons was eliminated due to an interference call. In keeping with the North Shore’s complex local dynamic, he, with several locals, stormed the judge’s, tower forcing a reversal of the call and prompting what has since been called "The Seven-Man Final."

Buttons comments on his surfing and boards:

I try to surf as many types of waves as I can. In my surfing, I try to combine a lot of speed and maneuverability. Since the Aipa Sting is a very versatile design, it can work for me in any type of wave, with only a change in length, width and thickness. In other words, I don't have to keep changing types of board designs, only sizes, except for my longest winter board. I feel this helps my surfing, because I always know what to expect of my boards, as they are all basically the same.

Jeff Divine, when asked what image stood out most for him either historically or personally, replied:
…the shot of Buttons Kaluhiokalani, …His tooth's broken. He's got his afro. He was at the height of his career, and the photo captures his whole vibe. He's a hilarious guy. I was really excited about how that came out. It kind of captured the entire spirit of the 70s.

It is definitely that shot of him...paddling out, smiling and flashing the peace sign...that captured not only the spirit of the times, but the spirit of the man as well.

18 comments:

foul pete said...

Buttons' prime was before my time but he is one of my favs along with Bertleman. While Tony Alva and Jay Adams get cred for bringing the surf influence to skateboarding, the Hawaiians came from the opposite direction. Jeff Divine's new book has some great shots from that era, unfortunately they are pre-twin fin when Buttons and Larry really went off.

Anonymous said...

Buttons is a drug pusher period. He sold me cocaine and qualuudes twice as an undercover cop in 1979, and he is about to be popped again real soon. You too could surf like him if you skipped school and sold drugs so you could stay in the water.

MICHAEL said...

IS this the same guy DUANE "DOG" CHAPMAN arrested on A & E?????

MICHAEL

Anonymous said...

Look the man has lost his way,Can anyone of us can say that we have never chosen a path that has led us to destruction?In my opinion the man has heart and lets hope and pray he can change his life around!!!! Nelson from L.V.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, this is the guy who Dog took in, I lived and surfed in hawaii in the mid 70's to late 80's, He was a pioneer I recall seeing him rip it up all over Townside. Where is the Ohana spirit now, bruddahs, it seems the surfworld is a chicken coop , when one falls they all start pecking. Not since the murder of Randall Kim by his neighbor have I felt such a gut punch. Hard drugs will take anyone down, My prayers are for Buttons and his family.

blondewahine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Yeah, that was sad. I vividly remember him when I was growing up on Oahu talking at my elementry school.

Anonymous said...

Buttons sure had a wild history, but as far as someone who has landed on his feet, you should see him now. I ran into him at the surf access program last weekend (July 2007) and he must have spent the entire morning out there in the water with those handicapped kids, just laughing and smiling and sharing his joy. Great to see a man take such positive control in his own life. I asked him what is getting him through it all with all the negative words, he said he was just taking it one day at a time and trying to live in service, give back to his people share his love and the peace he finds in the water. wow, chicken skin.

Cesar said...

Buttons was a major inspiration to me as a 13 year old grom ! His Spontanious aproach was mind blowing ! Nobody seemed to have more fun charging ! Buttons Style was completely Insane ! As 4 that underover Starsky and hutch Kook who posted .Get BeNt ! Buttons keep your demons down Brah ! You Belong in the water ! CHAKA BRA Surfrider4life@a0l.com

san-o-rat said...

hey cut the guy some slack he's doing good now let him surf he just had a major wipe out i was strung out on smack myself and also have one eye God be with us all hopefully we kick out in time and get another wave...san-o point rat

Anonymous said...

I'm from La Jolla. I would have loved seeing him back in the 70's when I lived there. Too bad I never saw him in 77 when I visited Oahu. My heart goes out to him. To quit heroin and rise above is a real reason to love the Lord.

Anonymous said...

Hello, my name is David Rutledge, and I am the director of Buttons Surf School on the North Shore of Oahu. Buttons is living a drug free life. He is now licensed and certified by the state of Hawaii to teach surfing. As another comment mentioned previosly, Buttons offers his time on the first weekend of every month to Access Surf Hawaii, where he paddles autistic, parapalegic and even quadrapalegic surfers out to catch waves on the West Side. Anyone who wants to surf with him can. All of his information and experience are available to surfers of any level or any age. Check out Buttons' new web site: www.buttonssurfschool.com or send him an e-mail: buttonssurfschool@hotmail.com. Look for great things in the future from Buttons.

Anonymous said...

Wowa , Surf with buttons ? Im out at playa Hermosa C.R on my Dennis Pang Rounded Pin .Thick heavy beach Break, payin some dues at age 44 . Surf with with Da Guy of that era would be an honer in the most High. Gotta pay many more dues to even consider myself worthy . I & I so blessed to be back in the lovely waters of Costa Rica after a long absence . Hail to the King of the REAL Layback ! LONG LIVE DA BUTTONS . AmeN to My Old(pure white LoCaL MoTiOn SiNgLE FIn RoUnDEd PIn 'and thanks Dennis for the greatest stick EvEr !!I am hubled by te Ocean every day ! Da ZAR C.R CESAR Surfrider4life@aol.com

Anonymous said...

Humbled by the Ocean and the masters of Tradition ! Much Respect to our Lifestyle ! Ciao ....

Anonymous said...

To MICHAEL... Yeah this is one in the same. "Dog" got him, but showed some mercy. TO ALL THE OTHER POSTERS HERE: Drugs are a nasty thing to put behind you. Buttons hasn't done very well for being almost 50. People shouldn't praise him and idolize him until he can be a good role model again. There are a lot of great surfers who don't do heroin. We should be talking about them more.

Anonymous said...

What I don't understand is how we can support "Buttons" surf school, surfboards, skateboards, clothing and more. Why should he profit in anyway until he has cleaned up his act?

Anonymous said...

I'll tell you that after meeting "buttons" down in the north shore. I was really sad to see the Dog episode the other night. Buttons was nothing but the bes to me and my 3 sons. It was our first trip to Hawaii and we randomly met him and his friends at the beach. He was super nice to my boys and went out of his way to make sure they were happy in the waves. We didn't pay a cent! He did it out of the kindness of his heart. We had no idea who he was as we are young and from Long Beach, Ca. It was until later or until people were asking for a photo with him did we find out who he was. This was end of August. He seemed clean as good be and had a really nice body. Thanks to him! Hopefully for his sake he stays clean!
Ana and sons from the LBC, Cali

Anonymous said...

Buttons is an unbelievable person, he has such a great surfing style he is a true legend! Everybody makes mistakes and to be able to rise above his addictions is AMAZING! He is such a sweet and kind person, gave me surf lessons for free and he really is the most giving person i have met! He Rules and everybody that knows him knows the truth about how awesome and inspirational he is. He has accomplished alot and gives back alot! You should all surf with him! He is Amazing!
Aloha