Greetings, Shredderz! As some of you have no doubt noticed by now, the late, great Donald Takayama is a favorite around these parts. Vintage Takayama boards exchange hands pretty frequently on the secondary market, especially in the San Diego area. Donald Takayama Surfboards continues to sell templates of DT’s designs today, a few years after his untimely passing, but as always, my interest lies in vintage Takayama boards. Here are a few interesting examples, curated from my exhaustive Craigslist trawling.
Example #1: 1980s Donald Takayama Hawaiian Pro Designs Noserider (Craigslist San Diego)
Here is one of the cooler vintage Takayama boards I have spotted recently, which I believe dates to the 1980s. First, I’ll start by saying I have no clue why some Takayama boards were produced under the Hawaiian Pro Designs labels, and others only have Takayama laminates. Either way, the board pictured above and below looks like it pre-dates a lot of the vintage Takayama boards from the 1990s and 2000s that are fairly commonplace on Craigslist in San Diego. The seller also thinks the board was likely shaped during the 1980s.
The font used on the Hawaiian Pro Designs laminates is different from what you see on later vintage Takayama boards, which you can see below. There are two other nice, smaller touches about the board: one is the wooden tail block. Second, you can just make out the old-school yellow Clark Foam laminate, which is always a welcome sight:
The seller is asking $750 for the board. I could go either way on the price — I certainly don’t think this is crazy. On the other hand, the board isn’t in great condition, and I think if you’re patient, you can find newer boards in better condition at similar prices. Then again, this noserider has a couple of unique touches that would make it a nice addition for a big Takayama fan. One quick caveat, however: the Craigslist post does not have pictures of a Takayama signature, and I would look for this before making any purchase.
Example #2: 1990s Donald Takayama Hawaiian Pro Designs Competition Model
This bad boy was snapped up shortly after the ad went live. It was actually listed with the 1980s noserider above. It appears that Noah Shimabukuro, a Takayama team rider, got this 2+1 Competition model for himself!
Shimabukuro has his own signature model, which is called the Noah Ka Oi. According to the Takayama Surfboards website, this translates to “Noah is the best”, which is a fantastic name for a signature board.
I don’t know that I have seen a Takayama Competition model before. I am pretty sure the Competition model was shaped in the 1990s. You’ll notice that the Hawaiian Pro Designs font has been updated, and it has a streaky script look, as opposed to the rounded letters from the font on the 1980s noserider at the top of the page. In addition, the Takayama Competition model has a clear example of an authentic Donald signature, which I have included below.
Example #3: 1980s Donald Takayama Shortboard (Craigslist San Diego)
Once again I am taking some guesses at the dates, but the thruster setup indicates the board pictured was shaped sometime after 1981. The removable center fin paired with glassed-on side fins is a setup that seems to have fallen out of fashion. As someone who obsesses over shaper signatures, I was interested to see this is the rare example of a Takayama board signed with initials, as opposed to his full name. There are tons of vintage Takayama boards out there without signatures — and the newer ones have dark laminates that say “designed by Donald Takayama” — but Takayama seems to have signed a large number of his creations. Despite the unusual use of the initials, the handwriting looks similar to the Competition Model above. Here’s another example of a Takayama signature from a board. The seller of the thruster is asking $285. I think this is a little on the expensive side, given the condition, but these older Takayamas don’t appear every day.
Pictured above is a somewhat cleaner example of a Takayama board from a similar era. It’s interesting to note that the thruster with the initials on the stringer has a Hawaiian Pro Designs laminate above the Surf Boards by Donald Takayama logo, whereas the twin fin above does not.
Donald Takayama is a surfer and a shaper whose illustrious career practically demands a longer and more in-depth post. In the meantime, I hope this post was a helpful overview of some of the options for vintage Takayama boards that one can find for sale online. Until next time, Shredderz!