"Buttons" Kaluhiokalani: the iconic progressive surfer of the 70s

June 1, 2012 | Surfing
Montgomery 'Buttons' Kaluhiokalani: the peaceful surfer | Photo: Jeff Divine

Montgomery "Buttons" Kaluhiokalani is a surf legend. The boy with the open smile blew the 1970s with a set of surf lines and maneuvers, which were featured in the timeless surf movie "Many Classic Moments".

Kaluhiokalani was born on the North Shore, in Hawaii, on March 30, 1958. He started surfing at Waikiki, when he was seven years old. After experiencing the first waves in a paipo board, Buttons tried the first tricks, as his famous easy switch foot.

His famous African hair was a trademark and surf photographer Jeff Divine captured his iconic finger peace sign picture. At 21, he won Sunkist Malibu Pro and surfed the Pipe Masters and the Sunset World Cup. As an amateur surfer, Montgomery Kaluhiokalani has 100 wins in his career.

Eddie Rothman once called him the innovator of modern day surfing. Buttons was the first to perform a carving 360 on film and his pocket surfing and skateboard inspired maneuvers were relevant surfing revolutions.

Montgomery 'Buttons' Kaluhiokalani: the quiver of an Hawaiian surf legend

Later, "Buttons" had problems with drugs. Fortunately, he recovered and decided to live another life. He founded the Buttons Surf School and teaches kids how to ride waves.

At 51, "Buttons" Kaluhiokalani was towed into a big wave, at Teahupoo, Tahiti. Today, the progressive surfer has seven kids and enjoys quiet family life. His favorite surf spot is Backyards, in the Oahu's North Shore.

Watch Montgomery "Buttons" Kaluhiokalani featured in the "Many Classic Moments" surf movie.

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