Oceanside, CA — Waikiki, HI — Kugenuma, Japan
Short of stature but long on legend. Donald Takayama was mentored by Dale Velzy in the 1960s then mentored Joel Tudor, Kassia Meador and several generations of surfers and shapers into the 21st Century. A native of Oahu and a top hotdogger and competitor, Donald learned to shape under the wing of Dale Velzy: “He was haole, but he was alright,” Takayama once said about Velzy.
Takayama moved to San Diego to establish Hawaiian Pro Design in the 1970s – making boards for everyone from Joey Buran to Joel Tudor and tens of thousands of others, famous and anonymous. Donald passed away unexpectedly on October 22, due to complications from surgery. The response to his passing was immediate and worldwide. Friends and family of Donald Takayama organized memorial services in Japan in early November and then California and Hawaii on November 10. Nat Young flew all the way from Australia and joined the illustrious likes of Linda Benson, Nat Young, Skip Frye, Paul Strauch, David Nuuhiwa, Hap Jacobs, LJ Richards, world champion Cory Schumacher, Tom Morey, Jackie Baxter, Josh Baxter, Jericho Poppler and thousands of others.
Henry Ford was one of the many famous surfing names who spoke fondly of his long-time friend: “Donald’s life was full of friends and his aloha spirit followed him wherever he went!! He made all those who knew him or met him feel like we were part of his Ohana!!!! Always there to help a friend, always there to ask how you’re doing and ask about your family or a friends!! Always giving to others!!! Donald Takayama: one of a kind!!”