• Dr. Tony Butt
  • Dr. Tony Butt
  • Dr. Tony Butt

Dr. Tony Butt

Surfing Ambassador


Bournemouth, England


Asturias, Spain, and Kommetjie, South Africa

Tony lives for most of the year in a forgotten corner of Northwest Spain but spends the southern winter in southwest South Africa. He makes a meager living writing and teaching about the coastal environment, trying to convince people that the more we interfere with the coastline the more problems it will cause us.

For him, surfing is about being in the moment, not a way to gain money or fame or to prove that you are better than someone else. Being out in big surf is about being close to Nature, not conquering it; it is about understanding Nature and understanding yourself.

Career Highlights
  • Surfing alone at a number of spots around the world in the 1980s, spots that have now become well-known and crowded
  • In 1997 moving to the Basque Country to surf Meñakoz for ten years
  • Getting a PhD in Physical Oceanography and being pre-selected for the Eddie Aikau on the same day
  • In 2002 starting a yearly migration to Cape Town, South Africa
  • Staff oceanographer for The Surfer’s Path magazine for 17 years
  • Writing Surf Science: An Introduction to Waves for Surfing and The Surfer’s Guide to Waves Coasts and Climates
  • Paddling out at a new Spanish big-wave spot and surfing it almost alone for the next ten years
  • Pioneering several other big-wave spots in Spain over the last decade or so
  • Bringing together key people from around the world for the 2011 Global Wave Conference, to share ideas on how to protect surf spots
  • Making a full recovery from a serious neck injury to return to surfing big waves, and using the experience to help motivate others