Actor Gerard Butler's 'near death' surf mishap

By Michael McCarthy, USA TODAY

Actor Gerard Butler was hospitalized after being pummeled by big waves while filming a new surfing movie over the weekend, according to

Butler was held under water after being caught inside at Mavericks, the notorious big wave surf spot in Northern California that's been the scene of several deaths.

The 42-year old star of 300 was shooting a new film called Of Men and Mavericks when he was pounded by a set of 12-16 foot waves. Butler was held underwater for several waves and dragged through rocks until rescued by a safety worker on a jetski.

"He was down at least 20, maybe 40 seconds. It's traumatic because you're rolling around a bunch with lots of rocks on the inside of the break - called the bone yard," surfer Zach Wormhoudt told the New York Daily News. "We all went through that."

When the shaken actor emerged from the water, "he had that 100-yard stare that surfers get after a two-wave hold-down or near-death experience," wrote Frank Quirarte on

Butler was taken by ambulance to Stanford Medical Center for observation, then released. His rep said:

He's fine. Very scary. They brought him to Stanford University. More scary than anything. For precaution, we all wanted him checked out after it all happened. Came out with flying colors.

Butler portrays s a surfer in the new flick about big wave legend Jay Moriarty, who surfed Mavericks at age 16 before dying in a free-diving accident in 2001.

With its giant waves and rocky shore, Mavericks near Half Moon Bay, California has been a graveyard for even the best surfers. Pro surfer Mark Foo died at Mavericks in 1994. Another big wave rider, Sion Milosky, drowned after enduring a two-wave hold-down earlier this year.


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