Sunday, April 01, 2007

Black Butch


NW WIND 10 TO 15 KT WITH GUSTS TO 20 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WINDWAVES 2 FT...BUILDING TO 3 FT IN THE AFTERNOON. NW SWELL 6 FT AT 8 SECONDS.
"[Butch went on to] single-handedly rescue more guys in trouble on the North Shore than probably anyone else ever will. He was one of the last of a breed that started when surfboards were made of solid wood and faded out when they became light little slivers of foam and fiberglass." -- Gerry Lopez
Black Butch

Given the gift as a natural athlete...
One of surfing's more colorful characters...
His ability, though, paled greatly...
Compared to the legendary tales...
Of fighting, binging, pranks and recklessness.
Those who met Butch Van Artsdalen...
Likely would never forget him...
It was said he did 3 things equally well...
Surfing and drinking and brawling

He'd never seen a surfboard...
'Til he left Norfolk, VA...
For sunny La Jolla, CA...
On the beach at Windansea...
He'd borrow boards when he could...
'Til the Hawk hooked him up...
And quickly flew alongside...
Windansea grom with Hynson & Frye...
In one of the heaviest beach crews ever.

All his plans for a productive future...
His innate skill in all the ball sports...
Were swept aside and away by surfing...
When offered a spot as a Padre...
He passed on it for the waves of Hawaii...
He hit the North Shore in the early '60s...
Becoming a member of the Mead Hall Gang...
Where he gained renown for his radical antics...
Both on the beach and in the surf.

A propensity for drinking and fighting...
Gave him full acceptance by the Hawaiians...
And earned him his name "Black Butch"...
Already the king of Big Rock...
Mayor of the Long Bar in Tijuana...
He liked to go left at big Waimea...
And surfed switchfoot at Ehukai (aka Pipe)...
Earning another name "Mr. Pipeline"...
All on unrefined surf equipment.

Pioneer tube riding master...
Member of Duke's Surf Team...
Master prankster and binge drinker...
Bad tempered but generous...
A lifeguard at Pipe in the 1970s...
He saved countless lives...
And gave invaluable advice...
Until the day he died...
An alcoholic in 1979.
Local Report:
April 1st...Waist to chest, cold as hell if you weren't in the sun. Fun waves overall with lots of clean sets rolling through. Got smaller and choppy around 1ish. Passed through a snow flurry in the pass. ~Grave Wisdom

2 comments:

pushingtide said...

Love when you do these little docs, Doc.

Need Butch around me sometimes!

indytrucker said...

Hmmm...could Ding Delamerton be the second coming of Black Butch?

You decide.