Scottish actor Gerard Butler fell in love with the idea of playing a surfer in new movie Chasing Mavericks by taking sunset helicopter trips up and down the California coast.

The 300 star had never really surfed in his life when he was offered the chance to play real-life water baby Frosty Hesson in the Curtis Hanson film, and he needed quite a bit of persuading to sign on for the role.

Learning to pilot a helicopter at the time, Butler decided to buzz the coast to watch real surfers at play.

He tells Wenn, "I had the script and I used to get on at the Santa Monica airport and fly up and down Malibu and the coast and I saw all the guys on paddleboards and surfboards and I went, 'Look at this. What am I thinking? I need to get a place in Malibu and spend a bit of time here. I need to take this movie, and I need to learn how to surf.'

"That was when I decided to do this movie, when I was in the helicopter. I always try to retain a sense of wonder and humility. Looking at the task at hand it was quite a daunting experience."