Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Donald Takayama (1943-2012)

By Steve Pezman
Donald Takayama, Ala Moana, 1961. Photo: Leroy Grannis
Donald passed away this morning, October 22, 2012. Much will be written about him.
Dale Velzy invited him to California to shape when he saw a board that Takayama had made in Waikiki. At 12, Donald came over and made the West Coast his home. Originally living in the South Bay, he later moved south to Oceanside, where he built Hawaiian Pro Designs into his personal statement on the topic of making fine surfboards. He always remained tight with Dale Velzy. When Dale passed, Donald was deeply shaken. Married to Diane, both a wife and business partner, Donald was far from a perfect human. A fun-loving guy, he enjoyed jamming the penny slots and letting them roll. He experienced his travails, many in plain view for us all, yet he was universally loved and respected—a sweet, sweet man who was Hawaiian-style, generous to a fault, giving to those he felt worthy, and, finally, a teacher—the highest attainment of the human condition. His contribution to surfing in general was broad and lasting, not only in what and how to ride, but in what it really meant. Among surfers that he mentored were Joel Tudor and David Nuuhiwa. Dale lovingly called Donald the “little guy” but we all knew that Donald was huge beyond size. He was a rock among pebbles, from a beach that is changing its look and character. Remember him.