surfing walk of fame
the duke
surf pioneer
surf champion
woman of the year
surf culture
local hero
honor roll
huntington beach
board voting links sponsors contact us gift shop
Surfing Walk of Fame

Donald Takayama 2013

Donald Takayama shaping room

PHOTO CAPTION: Shaping room Jacob's Surfboards 1967.

PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Wilkings


Donald Takayama could be considered the first-ever professional surfer. In 1957, at the young age of 12, the Waikiki native moved to California to work under the legendary Dale Velzy, getting paid $5 and a logoed T-shirt to simply shape and surf.

And even though he’s highly regarded for his technique in his shaping room, he held his own in the competitive realm as well. Takayama was two-time runner up to Corky Carroll in the US Championships and finished top five in the USSF season-end ratings for much of the latter 1960s. In the Masters division, he swooped US Champs titles from ’71-’73 before returning his focus to surfboard design.

Donald Takayama nose ridePHOTO CAPTION: Hanging five in Hermosa Beach, CA 1966.
PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Wilkings

Donald Takayama surfingPHOTO CAPTION: Hanging five at Malibu contest, 1967.
PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Wilkings

Takayama logo

IMAGE CAPTION: Shapes and Designs by Donald Takayama logo design.


His highly influential boardbuilding career hit a fork in the road early on, when the Velzy-Jacob’s label split and Takayama went with Jacobs to Hermosa Beach. There, he crafted boards for some of the era’s hottest riders including Mickey Dora. At Jacobs, his Donald Takayama Model became one of the “most functional and aesthetically appealing boards ever made” according to Longboard magazine. His career furthered with stints at Bing Surfboards as well as Weber Surfboards, where he helped Harold Iggy design the Weber Performer.

Takayama was one of the few shapers to make the transition to shorter shapes of the late ‘60s. And in the late ‘70s, he founded Hawaiian Pro Designs. It was there that Takayama built the quiver of pro surfer Joey Buran before eventually returning (along with longboarding’s popularity) to the noseriders of the ‘80s. More recently, Takayama worked closely with two-time ASP Longboard World Champion Joel Tudor.

In 1991, Surfer magazine named Takayama one of the “25 Surfers Who Changed the Sport.”

Takayama passed away in 2012 due to complications during heart surgery.

Donald Takayama HB Pier with GirlPHOTO CAPTION: Donald with Bettina Brenna, outtake from December 1965 International Surfing "Winter Fashions in Focus" article; Hermosa Pier, October 3, 1965.
PHOTO CREDIT: Courtesy LeRoy Grannis



Donal Takayamah Ala MoanaPHOTO CAPTION: Donald, Ala Moana, November 26, 1961.





Surfing Walk of Fame