Donald Takayama, 1943-2012

On October 22, 2012 legendary shaper Donald Takayama passed away from a heart attack due to complications during surgery. Takayama was 68 years old.

The iconic shaper and surfer was born in 1943 in Hawaii and moved to Southern California by the age of 12 when invited to shape boards for Dale Velzy. Takayama became one of the most acclaimed shapers in surfing's history, growing his company, Hawaiian Pro Designs, in Oceanside, Calif. Takayama was also a top-ranked competitive surfer, finishing as a runner-up in the US Surfboard Championships in '66 and '67, and appearing in numerous surf films, including Bruce Brown's 1960 "Barefoot Adventure."

Takayama started shaping SUPs early on in the sport’s development, licensing his designs to Surftech. Many of the sport’s biggest players took some of their early paddle strokes riding Takayama boards. He was loved and respected by all for his aloha spirit, endless generosity and kindness. Two years ago, the late Junior Seau, neighbors with Takayama in Oceanside, told SUP magazine that the board craftsman was the reason he got into standup. We’re sure plenty of people out there are remembering the man in similar terms today.

Top photo by Tim McKenna

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