Butler, 42, was filming a movie about a surfer on Sunday afternoon. He and three others were reportedly trying to steer clear of a set of 15-foot waves when a much larger set broke in front of them.
Witnesses say Butler was held underwater and washed through some rocks while tethered to his surfboard.
A safety patrolman on a Jet Ski swooped in and picked up the actor.
Butler was taken to the hospital for observation and later released. One of the other surfers said he was only shaken up.
Maverick's cold water and giant waves have made it a Mt. Everest-like conquest for some surfers.
Even the world's best surfers have been humbled by Mavericks, which has claimed its share of broken boards and bloodied surfers.
In 1994, Mark Foo, a seasoned big-wave surfer from Hawaii, died while surfing Mavericks. Ten-time surfing world champion Kelly Slater has also talked about how dangerous the wave is after getting held down after a wipeout there in 2000.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.