WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A memorial paddle out honored a revolutionary surfer in the spot where he learned to carve up waves. The touching tribute in Waikiki drew hundreds of people on Friday. The family of Montgomery "Buttons" Kaluhiokalani wanted his final resting place to be in the ocean that he loved. While some people watched from the scattering of ashes from the beach, others paddled out to be part of this last farewell.
"He would be really stoked to see all these people out here for him," said his son Mario Kaluhiokalani.
"My dad was my hero. He was spontaneous, free-spirited, talented, and nothing but aloha. He was the essence of the aloha spirit," said his daughter Andreanna Kaluhiokalani.
The celebration of life honored the 54-year-old's legacy. The tribute started off at Kapiolani Park with family, friends, and fans taking turns sharing their favorite stories about him.
"He was a legend. An innovator of surfing. The things that he was doing back in the day is things that people do now," said his daughter Alisha Kaluhiokalani.
"My dad just always said, 'I love you.' He would say that to everyone and that's what made him who he was, Buttons," explained his son.
Despite his struggles with drug addiction earlier in life, his children remember his positive impact on those around him through his surf school business and other activities.
"He was a strong man and he gave back to the community during his later years. Although he had his ups and down, what I would want him to be portrayed as is as a good father, an awesome surfer," said Andreanna.
When he was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, he sought treatment in California. His battle finally ended on November 2.
"The most that I'm going to miss about him is his laugh. His laugh and his eyes. For him to look at me, and me look at him," said Andreanna.
Earlier this month, ocean tributes were also held on Oahu's north shore and in Malibu, California.
Buttons is survived by his wife, eight children and nine grandchildren.