Gerard Butler Describes Near Drowning During Filming Of Mavericks Movie

HALF MOON BAY (KCBS) – Gerard Butler admitted making the movie “Of Mavericks And Men” about big wave surfer Jay Moriarty put him literally out of his depth more than once. Getting trapped under two powerful waves last month was one of the Scottish actor’s closest calls.

Butler was out in the break with 3 of the best surfers in the world on December 18th, when he saw first hand just how big the swells can get off Half Moon Bay.

KCBS’ Holly Quan Reports:

“This wave spread across the skyline and it came and it was about 30 feet high,” he said, recounting details of the harrowing encounter on the British comedy program, The Graham Norton Show.

The experienced big wave riders alongside him the weekend of Dec. 18 had just one piece of advice in that moment: “They’re just going, ‘paddle, Gerry, paddle.’ And I’m paddling on my board,” he said, until the wave swallowed him.

Butler did some training before the film crew arrived on the San Mateo County coast, so he’d gone under before, sometimes for 10 or 15 seconds. This time, the leash that tethered Butler to his board was ripped off, plunging him into a spin cycle of terror.

As soon as he reached the surface, Butler said, “I felt the next wave go, and then it all started all over again.”

It was a full minute before his head was finally above water again. What was going through his mind during his brush with death?

“All I could think was, ‘there’s a whole film crew up there,’” he said.

Joking aside, Butler was visibly shaken describing the incident that landed him at Stanford Medical Center for observation. He checked out okay, and principal filming on the movie was done before the window for the Mavericks Surf Contest opened.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

More from Holly Quan
  • Facts

    Gerard Butler was born in Scotland of Irish descent. When did he become British? Get your facts straight before you print.

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