Donald Takayama with Jeff Pupo Inspired Artwork

Greetings, Shredderz! I love finding gems on Craigslist and other sites — although this one, like countless other Takayamas, was sent to me by KC — and I love it when a random stick helps fill in some information about board building and the people who make it all happen. Featured here is a beautiful Donald Takayama surfboard, hand signed by DT before his passing, and it also features artwork inspired by a man named Jeff Pupo.

The board is a Noah Ka Oi Competition Model, named after team rider Noah Shimabukuro. I always have a hard time judging pictures of boards, but to me this looks very different from what’s currently listed on the DT Surfboards website as the Noah Ka Oi model. The current Noah Ka Oi model has what appears to be a rounded pintail, as opposed to the squash tail on the Noah Ka Oi Competition Model pictured here.

The board measures in at 9’1/2″ x 22 1/2″ x 2 1/2″, as clearly denoted on the signature. If I had to guess I’d say it was likely shaped around the early 2000s. You can see Donald’s standard pencil signature along the stringer.

The seller called the board an “epoxy performance noserider”, but sadly that’s all the detail included in the listing regarding materials and construction. The seller also claims the board was a custom shaped by Donald at his old factory in Oceanside.

The other killer aspect about this stick is the incredible abstract artwork on it. I just so happened to go down an internet rabbit hole a few weeks ago, which led me to this post on Composite Corner detailing some of the resin art of a gentleman named Jeff Pupo. As you can see in the post, the artwork on the Takayama is almost exactly the same as a Gene Cooper board that Pupo helped build.

An older version of this post incorrectly stated that the Takayama featured here also featured Jeff Pupo artwork. In fact, the artwork on the Takayama was added during the restoration, and it was directly inspired by the Gene Cooper board above.

Anyway thanks to KC for sending me this killer find! I love seeing these older Donald Takayama shapes, and it’s also rad to see another example of Jeff Pupo’s beautiful artwork.

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