I remember when Buttons first hit the scene in Magazine and movies, it was the beginning of pro surfing and in this country contest were getting lots of publicity and the surfers who were trying to make it professionally were getting all the press. But the thing that happened to a lot of these guys who were the hot flashy groms was the over saturation of competition. Too many competitions over many years takes the shine off the spontaneity and grinds down the creativity in the art, generally speaking you are tying to please judges who in turn are trying to be consistent. They often do not surf to a high standard and all to often don’t understand the subtleties involved. So formula and repetition win out for a long career in this field.
So in the late 70s we had been fed the Free Ride generation and all the new stars that appeared in the movie and the general theme amongst them was we are going to rip, get in contests, and magazines, make money, get famous, get laid or whatever comes after that. They were determined goal driven this surfing thing was not for fun any more it was a vehicle to take them places that always seemed as far away from the beach as possible. They were after respect from people who weren’t from the beach they want to move in the big end of town, all very well each to their own.
Boom there is Buttons free and easy Hawaiian kid ripping, playful, having fun in the sun doing things that made us smile and laugh a charismatic beach boy. All of a sudden there was an antidote to the professionalism that we had been subjected to and he helps us remember what was fun in our lives and not take the pleasure of the ocean so seriously.
We are in need of a new Buttons now, not a manufactured one given to us by the media just a good time freestyle ripper, no sponsor, no leash ,no cares, just digging the sun on your back on a warm day and a smile that burns bright and of course side slipping in the tube.