Newport Beach, CA Sept 18, 2013 at the Lido Theater, Newport Beach, CA
Wednesday night was a benefit screening of the surf film “Five Summer Stories” 1972, by Jim Freeman and Greg MacGillivary. The benefit sponsored by Ghetto Juice magazine for Hawaiian surfer Buttons Kauhiokalani that has been diagnose with lung cancer. On hand were some of Southern California and Hawaiian pioneer surfers of the early seventies and some of today’s surfers. Notable are David Nuuhiwa and Rory Russell, which are starred in the movie. “Rockin Fig” Fignetti of Huntington Beach and John Philbin who portrayed “Turtle” in the film “North Shore”.
Montgomery Earnest Thomas “Buttons” Kaluhiokalani, age 51. With his progressive skateboard moves in the Hawaiian surf, he had become one of the young Hawaiian surfers who had started to push the limits of surfing in the early and late seventies. At the same time professional surfing was just starting to evolve and with different parties and individuals trying to establish some type of format Buttons went on to compete and try his run to be a world champ. With only three wins under his belt and numerous seconds and thirds, he had seem to drop off the radar of competitive surfing. With the responsibilities of fatherhood and marriage surfing had to take a back seat to professional competition.
With eight children and 9 grandchildren he first and foremost is a family man. With his on and off addiction to drugs Buttons has at the most remained a proud parent and proud of his Hawaiian heritage.
I have never met Buttons or have seen him surf in person but his one contribution to surfing and the Hawaiian islands that he loves so much was to inspire the young surfers who were coming up the ranks to try new and innovative moves and to have fun. Also that drugs and alcohol abuse is not the life to live. For the negative and hard times that Buttons had cast upon himself I hope that everyone will see a proud man and that he tried his best to overcome his issues. I hope the best for Buttons and his family. I know that when that time comes that his Hawaiian sprit will forever remain on the ‘Āina and in the Moana. Me ke aloha, Aloha kākou.