9’3″ Donald Takayama Single Fin Gun

Greetings, Shredderz! It’s Takayama Tuesday today, which can only mean one thing: here at Shred Sledz we’re celebrating in style by featuring another one of Donald’s next level shapes. I actually posted the board featured here on Instagram earlier today, but judging by the enthusiastic response, it’s too good to just leave to the whims of the almighty algorithm. First, a small aside: a big reason why I started writing Shred Sledz was because I’d see beautiful surfboards for sale on eBay and Craigslist, and when the listings would take down, the photos would disappear forever. The Takayama in this post is a perfect example. It was sold on eBay a few years back, and in my humble opinion it’s a gorgeous and memorable board that would have otherwise disappeared from view. I’m not exactly the Smithsonian here, but hopefully you get a kick out of this unique sled.

According to the original eBay description, the board measures 9’3″ x 19 1/4″ x 3″. The board was ordered custom from Donald’s shop in Oceanside, and the original owner insisted on having red frigate bird laminates to match the fin. The gun has a triple redwood stringer setup: the center stringer is 1/8″ and the outer stringers are 1/4″ each. As of the time the board was sold it had never been used.

The classic red fin absolutely pops against the smoke grey resin tint. You don’t need to know a single thing about Takayama’s illustrious career to appreciate the aesthetics of this big wave gun. Whether it’s the colors, the contrast between the subtle grey and the bright red fin, the stringers, the volan patch or just the overall curves, I think we can all agree this is one incredibly beautiful object.

I mean, wow. There are only so many times I can say how stunning this board is before I run out of words. It strikes the perfect balance between simplicity and detail. While I have unintentionally ended up owning more than a few wall hangers myself, I usually can’t recommend buying boards just to put them on display. I might be willing to make an exception in the case of this Donald Takayama single fin gun. That said, I would also never dare to surf the waves this thing was intended for, so as much as I love seeing the board in absolute mint condition, it’d also be cool to see someone take it for a spin in some hair raising conditions. (No leash plug, so you better choose your spots!) I am by no means an expert on Donald’s boards, but as far as I can tell, he didn’t shape very many big wave guns like the one featured here.

Last but not least, the Takayama single fin gun reminds me of a Takayama 60s Jacobs Model reissue that I wrote up earlier this year. Hap Jacobs sadly passed away yesterday, and Donald was an early Jacobs team rider. The Jacobs Model reissue and this single fin gun share the red fin and a triple stringer setup, and even though they’re very different shapes, I love comparing the two. I imagine they were also shaped around the same time — 2010s would be my rough guess, but I find it hard to distinguish between many of these Takayamas shaped anytime after the late 90s.

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