Butch Van Artsdalen – Legendary Surfer – WindanSea Lot

Legederly Surfer Butch Van Artsdalen

Legendary surfer Butch Van Artsdalen trades gash in head for keg of beer. Photo taken by Jon Sarrett,WindanSea Parking lot

Recently I attended a memorial service for Harry Phillips, the former owner of Flowers by Adelaide in La Jolla.  I was having a conversation with some of the former delivery boys who worked for Harry over the years.  Randy Miller, Harry’s nephew, told a Windansea Tale.

Legendary surfer Butch Van Artsdalen was holding court at the Windansea lot and Randy was with Charlie Broan in one of the Adelaide’s delivery trucks.

Broan was driving and his goal was to sneak up behind Butch and hit the horn.  Something went wrong and Broan actually hit Butch and knocked him ass over teakettle.  Butch came up with a gash on his head and needed to be taken to Scripps Hospital Emergency Room.  The hospital was located then on Prospect across from the Rec. Center and Bishops School (on which now sits a huge butt-ugly condo project).

When Randy and Charlie got back to the shop, they had to tell Harry they had been in an accident and a guy had to be taken to the hospital.  Harry wanted to get to the hospital to talk to Butch before any Insurance Agents got involved, which he did.  After exchanging pleasantries, Harry said he would like to see if there was anything he could offer to Butch to keep the incident “Under Wraps”.

Butch said, “Yeah, get me a keg, delivered to [Windansea] beach in two hours and we’ll be even”.

Harry complied.

The Legend of Butch had another chapter.

Thanks to Dan Dameron for the post.

Meda Editors Note: The Photo was taken by Jon Sarrett at WindanSea Parking lot. We got the photo from Wikipedia (click on link above) our sincere  apology to Jon, now we can give credit where credit is due. We hope Wikipedia does the same.


  1. Mike Broan says:

    Jack Mac had some colors made for Mac Meda. One night he lent them to me and I got thrown in jail with them on. He said I was the first person to get thrown in jail wearing the colors. He was as happy as could be about it. Jack would always remind me of it when I saw him.

  2. Gary Noe says:

    I first met Butch on the North Shore in the early seventies. All of 21, never been away from Texas, alone, little money, only had one arm, yet I loved surfing. So off I went to Qahu. While a horrible surfer, I was really good at pool. Thank God, for the pool table at Haleiwa Sands. While I’m not sure when Butch first saw me, playing pool or trying to surf, I am sure I’ll never forget him. He became my big brother. During the summer time at his guard stand at Waimea, he would talk story with me for hours and for many days over many weeks. He even invited me to his parties. That’s where I met Eddie. Today, I have only three photos on my walls. Butch at Pipe and Sunset, and Eddie at Haleiwa. I never saw Butch surf, but I did watch him swim. At the end of those summer days at Waimea, he would swim from point to point and back. No one else in the water. No one else but me watching. It was beautiful to watch him swim. He was a dedicated life guard and friend. I miss Butch. I love Butch.

  3. ButchVanArtsdalen.com

  4. I am proud to announce that Bill Shrosbee was chosen by our family to do the
    “Butch Van Artsdalen” board.

    The board has Butchs’ full signature in it along with a nice logo designed by Bill.
    If interested you can contact Bill, my brother, Marvin or myself.
    With many wonderful memories and love for my Big Bro ❣
    Always Butchs’ Sis

  5. norman mccandless says:

    does anybody remember Larry Felker? he was around then.

  6. norman mccandless says:

    interesting, because i knew butch from a few get togethers up pupukea.At lorens. an Bla with his turned down sailors hat, tro net an buckets. mo betta days ALOHA Peace

  7. Bill David says:

    Are you the younger sister of John Haywrd who surfed at North beach in PB? He was a member of PB Surf Club and graduated from Mission Bay High School.
    If so, I’d like to touch bases with you, and get some info on your brother.


  8. Terry Tucker Rhodes says:

    I double-dated with Butch and his girlfriend Loli, in high school. I started surfing at The Wall in 1958 and first met Butch because he was a friend of my step-brother, John Hayward. There weren’t many other girls surfing then.
    I made surfing trunks and did surfing paintings from photos for people. Butch wanted me to do one for him, so I went over to the house he was renting with some other guys to get the picture. I expected it to be a mess, but it was absolutely spotless.
    When he moved to the Islands he became good friends with Rona Kaaekuahiwi who was married to Shannon Smith from PB, my old friend.
    I knew about the fights and drinking, but he was always a gentleman around me, and I will always remember him with that wonderful smile.

  9. Butch was someone who I dont think we realize just how unique a human entity he was. Beyond this Earth.. Aloha RIP.

  10. Ryan Dotson says:

    It was guys like Butch, Mike Diffenderfer and Jerry Stirnkorb who stoked me when I hung out in the Windansea parking lot. I remember seeing Kodachrome slides of Butch surfing at Waimea on the “Gray Ghost. The fin had a defect and the board wouldn’t turn right, so Butch merely switched stance…on a 25 foot wave–Whoa!But it’s what Jody said, “He was a one of a kind guy!”

  11. I met Butch when he lived in Haleiwa, Oahu with his wife, my best friend. He was a really magnetic and powerful guy. He saved her sister’s life. She died one night; she stopped breathing after a seizure and he resusitated her back to life after working on her for a long, long time. He just wouldn’t stop or give up on her until she started to breath again. She was only 14 years old. He brought her back to life that night. She loves him forever. He was a really great guy! He had a huge heart! He was like no one I had ever met before. He was strong and handsome and powerful. A one of a kind kind of guy.

  12. kirk brown says:

    fuc— the past no internet no ipod
    no vicodin you can have it kirk

  13. Remember the days of the Whale, the Butt brothers, Pat and Sue, Stan Hayes, Matty Welsh, Kirk Brown, Larry Burton, Tom Jones, Terry, and so many others—the bench, the wall, sunsets, beer and wine……..Those were the days………long ago and faraway.

  14. Brud McGowen. Another Butch understudy. He is dead now. RIP.

  15. Bruce Gorden says:

    Butch was a giant to me, cuz I was much younger. I played two man volley ball at PB Rec with Butch and Diff…I figured they were the baddest dudes on the planet. Till one night Butch was playing Basketball with Butch Rhodes. Rhodes was built exactly the same, only bigger. The two clashed, smaller Butch managed to keep his temper that time. We also played “Foul” basket ball with Chuck. Chuck was plenty aggressive then too. So, when the gremmies fouled it was a push or a block, Chuck knocked us on our asses. All in fun, well at least for him. Our surf club sponsored the PB surf contest one year. Between heats, Butch was at Maynards, preparing for the next heat. He and I played a lot of 9 Ball at Victory Lanes. Great memories

  16. oldschoolsurfer says:

    Odd how some people put themselves in places they weren’t just to say they were part of something they weren’t. Danny Talboy is one that was there. Danny, unlike some others, can be trusted to relate the old days as they were.

  17. Ryan-
    I remember you ripping at the Shores and Twang in the early ’60s when I was just a gremmie. You and Butch and Diff were my heroes. Hope da Islands are treating you well and life is good.
    I finally got around to writing a novel about those days. Read it if you get a chance.

    Stewball (still in LJ)


  1. […] crowd and surfers like Curren, Mike Diffenderfer (RIP) Tiny Brain Thomas, Billy Graham, and Butch Van Artsdalen (RIP).” Pat Curren and Mike Diffenderfer were known to hang at the Birds Rock’s  Sip […]

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