Bing Takayama

Maybe it’s the 90s hip hop fan in me, but there are few things I enjoy more than a great collaboration.

As far as vintage surfboards go, the Donald Takayama Model for Bing Surfboards has to be up there.

The board pictured above is an example of a Donald Takayama Model, created for Bing Surfboards between 1965 and 1967. It’s currently listed for sale on Craigslist in Orange County, and you can find the board here. The asking price is $1K. This may seem a little steep, but for reference, another Bing Takayama (albeit in perfect condition) recently sold for $5K at auction.

I’m able to notice a few key differences between the board at the top of the post, and then a few other Bing Takayama boards I found online. For the first comparison, see below for pictures of the Bing Takayama that was sold at auction.

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Photos via LiveAuctioneers.com

The second example I was able to find was on usedsurf.jp, which always has great vintage boards for sale (albeit at steep prices, no doubt because the shop is located in Japan). I’ve reproduced those pictures below as well:

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Photos via usedsurf.jp

Now, let’s compare the three boards: the Craigslist board at the top of the post, the auction board, and then the usedsurf.jp board. First, all three of the boards share the same basic outline – a slightly pulled in nose, a triple stringer, and a squash tail in the back. However, the auction and usedsurf.jp boards also have two critical differences: they have large D-fins, as opposed to the Craigslist board’s more raked design; and second, you’ll notice the logos are slightly different. The Craigslist board’s logo has an evenly applied bold outline around the eye-shaped Bing logo; the auction and usedsurf.jp boards have an outline that gets thicker around the right side of the eye.

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Close up of the auction board. Bolding is only on the right side of the eye logo.

Here’s my guess: the D-Fin boards (in this case, the usedsurf.jp and auction boards) were produced at a different date than the non-D-Fin boards (see one at the top of the page). The Craigslist board at the top (non-D-Fin) is dated as 1965. Usedsurf.jp dates its D-fin board to 1967. However: the auction board, also a D-Fin, is dated to 1965. Since the Takayama model was only made between 1965 and 1967, I think one of these dates must be wrong. In other words, I believe at some point Bing must have switched from the non-D-Fin to the D-Fin, or vice versa.

Consider, now, the tiebreaker. Here are two more boards I was able to find online, both of which are dated 1965 and closely resemble the Craigslist board at the top of the page. First, we have a board once listed on eBay (aka the eBay board). I can’t get a close look at the fin, but it looks like the rake fin design (not the D-Fin). Note the logo design and placement. First, it’s the logo that has bolding on right and left. Second, the logo is on the right side of the deck, fairly close to the nose.

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Second is a board that was listed for sale on Cannon Beach Artz. It’s also dated to 1965. It has the same logo and placement as the Craigslist board and the eBay board, not to mention the red tail block visible on the Craigslist board.

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Photo via Cannon Beach Artz

Conclusion? I believe that the earlier run of Bing Takayama boards can be identified by three things: 1) The logo with the bolding on both sides of the “eye”; 2) Placement of the logo (right side of the deck, close to the nose); and 3) A more raked fin design (versus the D-Fin). There are multiple sources that date these boards to 1965. I believe the later model – produced in 1967, but possibly earlier – has the D-Fin, the logo with the bolding only on the right side, and then logo placement further down the board.

If anyone has more info, I’d love to hear it. Otherwise, the Craigslist board is still for sale, and you can find it here.

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