Before John John, before Andy, before Sunny or the Ho brothers, Buttons Kaluhiokalani was at the forefront of radical surfing in Hawaii. Bursting onto the scene in the late 70s, the sand-eating, heavily-afroed Oahu native helped pioneer a new brand of fast, flamboyant surfing that combined traditional lines with carving 360s and effortless switch-stance manoeuvres, and now a documentary is being made about his life.

Directed and produced by filmmaker Chris Frank, Aloha-Buttons will pay homage to one of surfing’s true originals through interviews with those Buttons knew and touched as well as extensive footage of the man’s incredible performances in the waves. A long time friend, Frank’s inspiration for making the film came after he learned of Buttons’ passing.

‘In 2013, I was struck with a liver disease that left me in a near-death coma for ten weeks. Unbeknownst to me, Buttons was also fighting his own battle with lung cancer. Upon waking up from my coma, I tried desperately to get a hold of my friend Buttons, but to no avail. The next day, I learned he had passed. I’m making this film because it’s the closest I’ll get to being able to say aloha to my friend Buttons.’

Currently in production in Hawaii, the film is estimated to be released sometime in the second half of 2017. However, like a lot of documentaries, production costs aren’t cheap and the independently funded project could use some help to come to fruition. The film’s crowdfunding page on indiegogo has some great perks for anyone who donates and in the spirit of aloha, all profits from the film will go to Buttons’ family and charities such as the Surfrider Foundation, Fuck Cancer and the Maui Ola Foundation.

If you want to find out the true story behind Buttons, the man, the myth, the legend, donate at: