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Famed Hawaii surfer 'Buttons' Kaluhiokalani dies

By Star-Advertiser staff

LAST UPDATED: 09:47 p.m. HST, Nov 03, 2013

Surfing innovator Montgomery "Buttons" Kaluhiokalani died Saturday in California after battling lung cancer, according to a post on his surf school Facebook page.

He was 54.

As a professional surfer from Hawaii in the 1970s Kaluhiokalani is known for bringing skateboarding maneuvers to surfing.

In an obituary, Surfer Magazine said Kaluhiokalani and other surfers of at the era "laid the framework for modern day surfing."

Kaluhiokalani battled drug addiction and regained sobriety. In recent years,  Kaluhiokalani ran the Buttons Surf School on Oahu's North Shore.

He is survived by his wife Hiriata Hart, eight children and nine grandchildren. Services are pending.

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Slow wrote:
Very weak article. Buttons was a brilliant surfer and a valiant Hawaiian warrior. Every surfer owes him a profound thank you as none of us look at wave riding in the same way after we saw him. Buttons was a genius. He took the familiar and hugely expanded it. Also he was a vibrant, loving man. I am truly disappointed that the SA runs a brief mention of this man. When will Hawaii give surfing and surfers the respect shown around the world? His life was far more important than the UH football team.
on November 3,2013 | 08:20AM
postmanx wrote:
Well said.
on November 3,2013 | 09:01AM
ahuimanuhuiio wrote:
Agree with Slow, I've had the pleasure of watching Buttons from his early days at Waikiki to his prime years pushing the limits of modern surfing at the north shore and all over the world. He was a creative innovator who was supremely gifted in a world of talented Hawaiian watermen; hope he is given due respect for his contributions to the sport of board surfing...Mahalo and Aloha bruddah Buttons, RIP
on November 3,2013 | 09:07AM
Kalaheo1 wrote:
I'll never forget or forgive Dog the Bounty Hunter for embarrassing him on national television. That guy needs to stay away from Hawaii forever.

Aloha Buttons!!

on November 3,2013 | 04:38PM
Mythman wrote:
Love the great Buttons. Aloha on your spiritual ride now great one....
on November 3,2013 | 10:04AM
Suzganote wrote:
Wow. What a terrible tribute to a great Hawaiian surfing legend! I agree with Slow and ahuimanuhulio. I love what Slow said... "Buttons was a brilliant surfer and a valiant Hawaiian warrior." His story is riveting, from how he pioneered a new kind of surfing, was the grandfather of today's surf style, to how he rose in fame and struggled with drugs, to how he overcame those obstacles to find another chance at happiness with his life and family. I truly hope HSA is going to do better than this sad piece. Hawaii has lost one of it's own great men.
on November 3,2013 | 11:17AM
A_Reader wrote:
Totally agree with all sentiments here and Staradvertiser's lack of proper representation of what Button's truly deserves. Probably would a lot more said if he was gay and homosexual.
on November 3,2013 | 03:45PM
MakaniKai wrote:
I also argee that the article is weak - note "By Star Advertiser Staff" probably some intern. Buttons deserves better and hopefully the S-A reads the story comments and corrects its error. Aloha Buttons, may your ohana find peace and joy in your memory. And know others share in their grief. Shocking news. Rest in peace Hawaiian.
on November 3,2013 | 12:49PM
PJSB wrote:
A good example of what's wrong with the Star-Advertiser. Lame article. Please redeem yourselves and write a real tribute to Uncle Buttons. A real Hawaiian who loved, lived and honored a real Hawaiian sport. Geez!
on November 3,2013 | 03:29PM
Anonymous wrote:
I remember back in the day coming back from Sandy's, we'd stop by Rainbows for lunch. Once in awhile we'd see Buttons there having lunch in between his sessions. He was all nuts out in the line up. A true "ripper". Him and Larry Bertlemann were trailblazers in the "high-performance" style long before it caught on with the Mainland crowd.
on November 3,2013 | 05:26PM
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