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Gerard Butler almost killed on Sunday while filming surfing movie

Dec 20, 2011, 10:06 AM EDT

gerardbutlersurfing Getty Images

When Of Men and Mavericks finally comes to a theater near you, remember that Gerard Butler almost died in the frothy surf while making it, so the least you can do is plunk down your 11 bucks. The Scottish action star has been practicing for the role since August, but that didn’t prevent his being pummeled by waves during filming of the movie in Northern California on Sunday. Butler had to be rescued by jet ski, and was taken to the hospital “for observation,” where he’s expected to be fine.

Butler, 42, was held underwater for two waves and washed through the inside rocks while tethered to his surfboard — a big-wave gun about 10 feet long, Wormhoudt said.

A safety patrolman on a Jet Ski swooped in and picked up Butler, who was shaken up but not seriously injured, Wormhoudt said. An ambulance arrived and transported Butler to Stanford Medical Center for observation, and Butler was later released.

ESPN’s Frank Quirarte was there, and has a pretty good detailed account of what happened, plus some good photos.

One of the film crew’s radios cracked — they were “bringing Gerry (Butler) in.” No sooner did I hear the transmission then a jet-ski and Zodiac turned the corner at the Half Moon Bay harbor mouth. They were coming in fast. I ran down to the dock, helped tie off the Zodiac and noticed Butler on board. He had that 100-yard stare that surfers get after a two-wave hold-down or near-death experience. After almost 20 years at Maverick’s, I’ve seen a lot of it but it was good to see he was standing on his own two legs. He was carted away in the ambulance and raced off to Stanford Medical Center for observation.

Talking to Wormhoudt on the dock, he said they were all sitting on the inside when a large outside set came through, swung way to the south, caught them off-guard and mowed them all down. For Mel, Long and Wormhoudt it’s all in a day’s work (hence their being on the crew), but according to other eyewitnesses, Butler was held down for a solid two waves and took four or five more on the head before being washed through the rocks on the inside, where he was finally able to be plucked out.

Butler was filming the life account of Jay Moriarity (played by Jonny Weston), a young Santa Cruz surfing phenom who died in 2001 in a free-diving accident.

Actor Gerard Butler OK after getting held underwater by waves at Mavericks [San Mateo County Times]

  1. kyleortonsarm - Dec 21, 2011 at 6:44 PM

    As this story has been here for HOURS without anyone posting anything I’ll just add in that I also don’t really care what happens to Gerard Butler. I’ll just make that known by posting instead of ignoring the story.

  2. Dirty D Fo - Dec 22, 2011 at 4:42 PM

    I like turtles.