On October 22 iconic surfboard shaper Donald Takayama died of a heart attack. He was 68 years old.
"We lost another legend today, Donald Takayama has gone on to shape and surf perfect waves for eternity. Our thoughts go out to Donald's family and friends," read a post on The Surfing Heritage Foundation's Facebook page.
Born in 1943, Takayama hailed from Waikiki, Hawaii, and rose to competitive acclaim in the 1960s, finishing runner-up in the United States Surfboard Championships in '66 and '67. Besides competitive successes, he also enjoyed time in the spotlight of early surf cinema, appearing in "Surf Crazy" in 1959, Bruce Brown's seminal "Barefoot Adventure" in 1960. He continued appearing in films throughout the years, most notably in Thomas Campbell's 1999 work, "The Seedling."
When Takayama was 12 years old he saved money from a paper route in Hawaii, bought a ticket to L.A. and started shaping for Velzy/Jacobs Surfboards. He served as a stint at Weber Surfboards, eventually starting his own surfboard label, Hawaiian Pro Designs.
Takayama's career as a surfboard shaper reached its zenith in the 1990s as longboarding made its resurgence. Teaming up with former world longboard champion and emcee of style Joel Tudor, his boards were seen and sought after around the planet. In the small microcosm of fanatical surfboard collectors and purveyors his shapes are some of the most prized.
"He was universally loved and respected -- a sweet, sweet man who was Hawaiian-style, generous to a fault, giving to those he felt worthy, and, finally, a teacher -- the highest attainment of the human condition," said longtime friend and fellow surfer Steve Pezman, publisher of The Surfer's Journal.
More to come as it becomes available.