Dog the Bounty Hunter Captures Hawaii Surf Legend Buttons

posted by / News / May 14, 2007

In an episode they’re calling “The Big Wipeout”, reality TV bounty hunter Duane “Dog” Chapman tracks down Hawaiian surf legend Montgomery “Buttons” Kaluhiokalani. “It’s Dog’s turn to play lifeguard,” says the television promo, but the reality of the situation is far less sensational.

“I was in my addiction,” explains the ’70s surf icon. “I was doing heroin. I had jumped bail, and he found me, caught me, and slammed me to the ground. Now the world is gonna see that, and all I can do is apologize; let the world know, hey, that’s not me anymore. I’ve moved on.”

“I was doing heroin. I had jumped bail, and he found me, caught me, and slammed me to the ground.” – Buttons

Speaking with SURFING from his home in Hawaii, Buttons regrets that his mistakes will be aired on national television, but also confesses that being caught by the prime time bounty hunter may have saved his life. “I’m going to look at this as a positive,” says Buttons. “I’ve got friends helping me. I’m staying focused, keeping the sobriety that I’ve had since the time I got caught. I’m moving on, but it’s gnarly, brah. National TV — super gnarly. What can I say? What happened, happened.”

See more Messages from Buttons on

Since his release, Buttons has been surfing twin-fins around Town, scoring some Outer Logs tow sessions with Garrett McNamarra and mentoring local kids to help them stay off drugs.

“My life is joyous now,” says Buttons. “I’m having the best times of my life, so I’m just going to keep moving forward and doing what I’m doing. I train, I go to the gym, I’m buff…but stuff like this happens, and unfortunately, it happened to me.”

“The Big Wipeout” on Dog the Bounty Hunter will air Tuesday, May 15 9:00 PM ET, (and Wednesday May 16, 1:00 AM ET) Go to for more.

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  • Wanda lamb

    I just watched ur episode on Dog , I just wanted to tell u and Megan . How proud I am of u . I myself have been off speed since 8/13/06 It has been a long journey. I have more road to go down. Today I go down those roads clean.
    So keep up the great job. And Congrates on being a Father, and your wife being a Mother.
    God Bless,
    p.o. box 0111
    Homeland, Ca.
    One day at a time!

  • Marc Staudenmaier

    good job! We are proud of u !!!

  • Sonja

    Buttons – like you, I love to surf but can no longer do so because of an injury incurred while serving our country in military service. It warms my soul to know that you are doing well. Your episode on “Dog” had me so worried. My son ask me why I cried when I saw you. Only we know why, right? Stay strong a day at a time. Peace & blessings.

  • Thomas

    Way to turn things around, Buttons!!!

    Wishing you and family much love and, Aloha!


  • Zdzisio Zagrycha

    A ja tam pierdole. Grund to sie nachlac i tego. Ja to jak se broFca nie lykne to chuj mnie szczela lot samego ranka. No. A DOG to po naszemu – Psiut. A jak mam co wyzlopac i do tego Jagna zagryche podrzuci i zrobi mi gale to dzionek jest w cipe.

  • whateva’z town kook

    who u tink ur kidding?
    Mo betta you get real with your self and your cousin’s..
    quit the shit or die.
    u no me

  • BONZ

    a butts, proud of you bra! its not easy,keep it clean keep it wet one surf at a time

  • emma sawicki

    Buttons, im 14 years old and look to you as an inspiration. I saw on that episode that you had more than just love, but hope. Something we all need to get through tough times. Thanks to seeing you turn your life around, I will stay clean off drugs til the day I die thanks. (: #teambuttons!! I love you, alohaa!

  • Dave

    You go Buttons, your the man, we all fall….good job gettin back up bro….Dave

  • rachel

    everybody knew u can do it! god bless u!

  • loretta carkeet

    hey buttons so glad to hear you are better , im so pleased that u are still alive , harmony rules i say bro

  • Scott herrick

    I’ll never forget the first time I saw Buttons surfing in the 1981 pipline. Then when I saw him on DOG, He gave me hope to stay clean. I was addicted to methadone for many years. It took away my love for surfing, life, everything. I’ve been clean for 8 months now.It gives me hope to see that Buttons makes it ONE day at a time. God bless.

  • patty mcbride

    my heart and praise goe’s out5 to you BUTTON’S my sister was a herion user for many year’s she would slam twice a day but when she found out she waqs pregnant she stopped using she had two beautiful kids before her passing two years ago this month june 24 s she was clean 31 years i enjoy talking to other people telling her story hoping it well help others im super proud of you ( LIKE THEY SAY BUTTONS ONE DAY AT A TIME )

  • Bruce

    Mate been way to long glad all is well with you as with me these days I still hear from Blair and Krystal Cheers Bruce from down under

  • Dawn

    One of my favorite episodes. So proud of you Buttons!!!

  • Melis

    Hope you’re doing well buttons! Good luck, stay clean & I love your moves!

  • jp ward

    Hi Buttons this is 2012 how are you since your capture? I saw the dog capture you on Tv it was sad but good! are you still clean? if you are keep the good work up!! I am Irish in Ireland.


  • Bill

    When I saw the episode on Dog’s show it was easy to see that you are a peaceful man with much talent. I am happy for you and your family. It’s great to see you helping people and you are truly a survivor and an inspiration to all.

    Peace forever!

  • caligirl

    I was so shocked to see the Dog episode. I always knew I would see one of my old cronies from Waikiki Days on Dog. Much aloha to you Bruddah, You have given the surfing world a great legacy to go forward (7 KIDS RIGHT?) I still remember you at a first surf meet at Ala Moana’s in the early 70’s. What a fun kid you were. Good luck and keep on surfin. You are an original. You give a message of hope to the youth. One day at a time.

  • Aido

    Was really upset to see you was on the gear but stoked to see your back good work buttons love from the Cornish boys

  • Sherri

    Way to go Buttons. I am proud of your strength you have had to beat your addiction. May God bless you every day and may people look up to you and know that no matter who you are everybody can turn their life around. You are an inspiration to all!

  • Jono

    Well done Buttons. I came down the beach yesterday and my friend Mark had a SUP lesson with you and he gave you a book on Jersey, you can see in your crazy life of rushing around the magic and love you have for Life, people and family.You were my inspiration when i was a kid seeing the old videos and the Joke about the skeleton crossing the road but seeing you now you are still even more an inspiration. Keep ripping it up.
    Jonos water sports . Jersey

  • Mike

    Hey Buttons, just saw you on Dog, very sad brah, was tearing up this end. Please stay clean, don’t waste your skills on the board and with people.You got a beautiful woman, friends and you live in a beautiful country.

    Stay clean for those who don’t have anything going for them

    Peace bra

  • Meridath

    Good job Buttons keep up the good work! I was on the same boat & its not easy to kick that. God Bless you & Megan. Your an inspiration to the surfing world a legand. Keep going forward. God Bless you & your family.

  • Buttons!!!

    Stay strong, brah. Enjoyed surfing Kaisers with you & Curtis.

    Mike from Texas

  • Walk the walk

    I have been walking the walk for over 23 years now (thank you God), and I am always touched when I see the episode of you on DTBH. Keep that support and accept the love. One day at a time; it’s all we got. Love you.
    Pat B.

  • Pingback: Buttons Kaluhiokalani Surf School | Local Getaways- Hawaii

  • Ron

    R.I.P Buttons ….Today 11/2/13

  • Lumakuu

    Buttons blew minds and kept us all laughing at Kaisers back in the day.
    RIP brah..

  • kahluhe muai

    Hey bra this is kahluhe we surfed together in the mid 70s I was one of the guys who helped you convince the officials they made a bad interference call on you taught me to surf the twin fins bra.remember we did that heavy sac of dope and and hung out on the beach with those two honeys all night bra? Nice to see your doing good bra.

  • Mike

    I was just watching the dog.(rerun)this I looked him up,and found out he just passed…God be with you..!!

  • Max Bravo

    As I pay my respects to you Buttons, I can’t get this permanent smile off my face thinking of you and what to say. Mahalo for all you had done and being one of my funnest friends! I love you no matter what, (good & bad)! I even loved frisking you before we’d leave my house to go out and meet our honey’s! Your magic was magnificent! A hui hou!


  • Hawaii pono I

    I started surfing in 1975 in Waikiki.I was blessed to watch Buttons and Mark Liddell riding their Wave Crest Hawaii stingers.Back then the waves were super good and they just ripped it to shreds.It is now 2013 and we mourn the lost of our friend but we know his spirit lives on.Aloha no Buttons Kaluhiokalani.