Surfer, Drinker, Brawler, Lifeguard, Waterman. Black Butch
A great athlete who lettered in baseball, basketball and football in high school was also one of the best surfers at Windansea.
Butch was offered a scholarship to play baseball for the padres, but chose Hawaii instead.
In SoCal he ripped Big Rock, was notorious for drinking at many of the fineer south of the border drinking holes, Hussongs, Chi Chi Club and the Black Cat. Its told that he came out on the better end of a fight with a couple San Diego charger front lineman
He could surf with the best of them and drink and fight with the worst of them. To say he was a hard charger in all aspects of his life would be an understatement.
He rode Sunset, Waimea (switch foot) and Haleiwa really well but it was at Pipeline where he stood out. Prior to him ,guys were surfing pipe to see if he they could handle it, Butch handled it and then some he surfed Pipeline like no other before him. He became known as Mr. Pipeline years before Gerry Lopez held that moniker.
In 1966 moved to Hawaii , he became one of the early North Shore Lifeguards along side Eddie Aikau. Like other areas of his life, he was full on, life guarding on the North Shore of a O’ahu is not an easy task and he was one of the best.
By the late 60’s early 70’’s surfing had passed him by a bit.
He was one of the last of a breed that started when surfboards were made of solid wood and faded out when they became light little slivers of foam and fiberglass. You won’t find many like him anymore –Gerry Lopez
Butch’s lifestyle eventually caught up with him and he died of liver failure in Hawaii at the age of 38 in 1979.
All Photos Leroy Grannis
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