Takayama Surfboards Review | Epic Boards or Rip Off? [2020]

Donald Takayama made a name for himself as a critically acclaimed and world-class surfboard shaper and designer who got his start fashioning wood boards using old railway tires. His humble beginnings paved the way for his global success, and today, surfers can purchase his boards across the world. Donald’s designs are the product of the continuous modification and refinement of his work, making Takayama surfboards among the world’s most sought-after boards. Despite his death in 2012, he is still considered one of the most prolific shapers in the industry.

Takayama’s success began in the 1960s when he crossed paths with Dale Velzy. Velzy offered Takayama a job in mainland USA at Velzy-Jacobs Surfboards. He also worked as a shaper at Surfboards Hawaii, and soon after, established Hawaiian Pro Designs (HPD) in the 1970s. As Donald worked on building HPD, he produced popular models like “In the Pink,” “The Egg,” and “Scorpion.” He also went on to collaborate with Surftech and started producing surfboards featuring Epoxy construction.

Top 10 Best Takayama Surfboards Reviewed

  1. Takayama – In the Pink Surfboard – Tuflite 9’6
  2. Takayama – Beach Break Surfboard 9’0
  3. Takayama – Scorpion II Soft Top Surfboard 7’0
  4. Takayama – The Egg Surfboard 7’6
  5. Takayama – Double Ender Surfboard – PU/Poly 9’6
  6. Takayama – Howard Mini Surfboard – PU/Poly 8’0
  7. Takayama – Model T Surfboard – TufLite V-Tech
  8. Takayama – Classic Stepdeck Surfboard
  9. Takayama – Humu Fish
  10. Takayama – Prince Kuhio DT Glider Surfboard

#1. Takayama – In the Pink Surfboard – Tuflite 9’6

Takayama – In the Pink Surfboard – Tuflite 9'6

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 9 feet 6 inches x 23 15 inches x 3.2 inches
  • Volume: 81.3 liters
  • Conditions: Ankle-high to overhead barrels
  • Construction: Fiberglass sandwich, Epoxy, EPS Foam, TufLite-PC
  • Fin System: Single fin with FCS twin tab side bites
  • Fins Included: No
  • Great For: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

The Takayama In the Pink is one of the most in-demand longboards from the Takayama brand. It is widely popular for its capacity to perform excellently in any condition. This board is a top-of-the-line noserider, capable of riding through ankle-high slop or full overhead barrels. No matter what type of surfer you are, you can get maximum waves with this board.

This product is a result of Donald Takayama’s great collaborative work with TufLite for over two decades. Before his death in 2012, they have established a relationship built on passion, dedication, respect, and trust, that allows the production and delivery of top-notch products that remain faithful to Donald’s designs, up to this day.

The board’s incredible TufLite-PC construction has resulted in a perfectly durable and lightweight board that guarantees a fantastic overall performance.


#2. Takayama – Beach Break Surfboard 9’0

beach break

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 9 feet x 22.1 inches x 2.7 inches
  • Volume: 63 liters
  • Conditions: Knee-high to overhead barrels
  • Construction: Fiberglass sandwich, Epoxy, EPS Foam, TufLite-PC
  • Fin System: Single fin with FCS II side bites
  • Fins Included: No
  • Great For: Intermediate/Advanced

With the Takayama Beach Break, surfers can expect a unique ride. It is the most performance-oriented and progressive longboard among Takayama’s designs. This surfboard features a customizable or “tuneable” 2+1 fin setup, a squash tail, a pull-in performance nose, extra rocker, and hard down rails. This board, when appropriately used, coupled with the right skills, can deliver aggressive surfing, lots of speed, and vertical attacks.


#3. Takayama – Scorpion II Soft Top Surfboard 7’0

scorpion 2

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 7 feet x 21.9 inches x 2.7 inches
  • Volume: 47.9 liters
  • Conditions: Knee-high to overhead barrels
  • Construction: EVA deck, Epoxy construction, EPS, Micro-Veneer, Softop
  • Fin System: Single fin with FCS Quad
  • Fins Included: Yes – Quad set and single fin
  • Great For: Kids/Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

The Takaya Scorpion II Soft Top is the successor of the original Scorpion board. It is, in fact, an excellent re-imagining of the latter, which was quite a popular Takayama board.

Today, the new version features a “more rounded out” version, compared to its predecessor’s lacking bottom end. The Scorpion II now features a broader and more ample tail and overall outline. Widening the board’s tail now allows the user to go short when riding.

Furthermore, this model features a thermal formed EVA deck that provides excellent traction and less pressure and stress on the ribs and knees when paddling. This Softop board is ideal for beginners or those wanting to improve their skills, but not yet ready to commit to a hard deck board. This kind of board is often used in surf schools and rentals, making it an in-demand product for more than two decades.


#4. Takayama – The Egg Surfboard 7’6

Takayama - Egg - Tuflite

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 7 feet 6 inches x 21.45 inches x 2.95 inches
  • Volume: 53.5 liters
  • Conditions: Knee-high to overhead barrels
  • Construction: Fiberglass sandwich, Epoxy, EPS Foam, TufLite-PC
  • Fin System: Single fin with FCS II Side Bites
  • Fins Included: No
  • Great For: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Takayama’s “The Egg” surfboard is a mid-length board that can accommodate surfers with varying abilities. It’s the ideal ride for surfers who are on the fence about both shortboards and longboards. The board provides ample paddling speed, early wave entry, and lots of speed, down-the-line.

This board can even work for experienced older surfers who might be experiencing a few challenges when it comes to fitness.  The Egg’s features will allow them to hustle alongside fitter and faster counterparts. More importantly, anyone who uses it can expect lots of fun and ease. It’s Takayama’s most iconic shape, so no surfer should miss out.


#5. Takayama – Double Ender Surfboard – PU/Poly 9’6

Classic Retro Pintail Noserider

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 9 feet 6 inches x 22.75 inches x 3.06 inches
  • Conditions: Knee-high overhead barrels
  • Construction: PU/Poly
  • Tail: Round Pin
  • Fin System: Single fin
  • Fins Included: No
  • Tail Patch: No
  • Great For: Intermediate/Advanced

The Takayama Double Ender is a versatile board that can accommodate surfers of all levels. It does well in smaller waves but may require some footwork to keep the board in the curl. Its weight may also be a little challenging, but there are no other concerns apart from that.

What’s excellent about this board is that it’s easy to use and steer, especially with its bottom contours, single fin, and easy-to-handle back end. You can also experience excellent play while chilling in the middle of the board or while nose-riding.

The Double Ender performs best amid bigger waves. The board’s heaviness, coupled with the Takayama fin, and full rails, deliver a fantastic feeling as you breeze through the water.


#6. Takayama – Howard Mini Surfboard – PU/Poly 8’0

Takayama Howard Mini PU/Poly 8'0"

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 8 ft. x 22 in. x 3 in
  • Conditions: Knee-high overhead barrels
  • Construction: PU/Poly
  • Tail: Round
  • Fin System: Futures
  • Fin Setup: 2 + 1
  • Fins Included: No
  • Tail Patch: No
  • Great For: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

The Howard Mini Surfboard is the result of the collaboration between Donald Takayama and Devon Howard. Inspired by the Takayama Egg, the Howard Mini is a surfboard without any rolls on the nose. It rails features modifications based on Howard’s exact specifications. When looking at it closely, it resembles a mix between an egg and a mid-length board.

Donald created this board to be ridden everywhere under any condition, but it performs best with steeper waves. It does well in smaller beachies, as well as in overhead reef breaks too. Its unique features allow the user to go for extremely curved surfs, then press accurately on the rail during turns. It’s V-shape, and taut board rails are what makes it quite maneuverable. It performs best when used with a single fin or a 2+1 setup.


#7. Takayama – Model T Surfboard – TufLite V-Tech

Model T Surfboard – TufLite V-Tech

Specifications:

  • Dimensions: 9 feet 6 inches x 23 inches x 3.1 inches
  • Volume: 82.2 liters
  • Conditions: Ankle small to shoulder high
  • Construction: TufLite V-Tech
  • Tail: Square
  • Fin Setup: Single
  • Fins Included: Yes
  • Great For: Beginner/Intermediate/Advanced

Takayama’s Model T Surfboard comes from Donald’s retro line. It features a classic look that’s both versatile and well-rounded. Surfers can expect a broad nose that’s great for noseriding, and a wide-body that’s perfect for chilling. It also has an extremely loose tail that provides excellent maneuverability. The Takayama Model T is a great addition to any surfer’s competitive quiver, especially with its square tail, single fin, and 50/50 rails. It is best for waves that are ankle small to shoulder high.


#8. Takayama Classic Stepdeck Surfboard

Takayama Classic Stepdeck Surfboard

You can never go wrong with classics, and if you need a top-performing surfboard by Takayama, you should consider the Classic Stepdeck Surfboard.

A lot of surfers love this surfboard because it’s one of the original models of Donald Takayama back in the 60s. It features a double stringer foam for an exceptional flex pattern. Plus, it features a thinner nose, which helps as you swing the weight of the tail.

This surfboard also comes with a pulled-in square tail and an RLB fin for exceptional performance. Regardless of whether you’re a pro or a beginner, you can effectively develop your surfing skills with this surfboard.

Aside from the RLB fin, if you want to set it up with a different set, you can use the MTP fins, which sizes range from 9 inches to 10.5 inches.


#9. Takayama Humu Fish Surfboard

takayama humu fish

Fish surfboards are one of the specialties of Takayama, and if you need an exceptional one, you can never go wrong with the Humu Fish Surfboard.

This surfboard features a thinner tail, which makes it more agile along waves. It comes with more angles, which also makes it convenient during tight-turns. Also, a lot of surfers love how they can control this board with full ease.

If you need to set up fins, the best ones are quad or twin. These can also help in boosting your speed as you ride waves, whether it’s small or big ones. Plus, it’s very suitable for professional surfers because it can keep up with quick turns and steady control.

You’ll enjoy choosing from different styles and colors of surfboards, which matches the beach well. Also, it’s available in 5 feet and 6 inches or 6 feet.


#10. Takayama Prince Kuhio DT Glider Surfboard

Takayama Prince Kuhio DT Glider Surfboard

If you want the best surfboard that Takayama would recommend, it’s the Prince Kuhio DT Glider Surfboard.

This surfboard has an exciting story because its overall features came from the reefs of the South Shore of Oahu. It comes with a patented 60-40 rail under the edge, which helps in turning. Also, surfers admire it more because it doesn’t provide a hassle-feeling despite tight turns.

It features a DT-1 Rocker, which provides an ease to surfers as they paddle. A lot of beginners love it because it’s user-friendly, and it works smoothly. Plus, this feature makes the overall performance of the board very favorable, even for newbies.

Aside from that, this board is only available in 11 feet and 1 inch with a 4-inch thickness. However, despite its length size, it provides a feeling as if you’re riding a shorter board.

If you thought of setting up fins, this brand highly recommends using 2+1 FCS with a 7.50-inch or 8-inch one.


Takayama Surfboards: Company & History

Takayama is one of the popular surfboard brands in the industry these days. It always meets the expectations of surfers, from style to quality. Yet before it became a well-known brand, this company started a humble beginning.

Donald Moke Takayama started to shape boards in Hermosa Beach, California. He began establishing his trademark when he was nine years old, and his purpose was to be an established shaper for Dale Velzy at Velzy/Jacobs Surfboards. By 1965, he became an established shaper.

Takayama founded the company in 1970, and it’s called Hawaiian Pro Designs. Since then, he continued to offer exceptional surfboards to aspiring and professional surfers.

Regardless if you’re looking for a shortboard or a fish surfboard, this brand has the best item you need to practice your surfing skills effectively.


Conclusion

Takayama Surfboards are synonymous with high quality and top performance. There isn’t much negative feedback about the board since Donald’s designs are versatile enough to handle any type of condition or waves. His boards are also made with passion, using the highest quality materials. Throughout his life, he dedicated himself to shaping the best surfboards on the planet, and even after his death, his name is still the first one that comes up when it comes to top-notch surfboards and longboards.  Owning a Takayama board is no longer just about owning a top-of-the-line product. It’s also about owning a piece of Donald’s legacy that makes his boards genuinely priceless.


FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q: Does Takayama sell surfboard fins?

Yes, you can purchase fins with Takayama’s design. It’s available in different styles, such as MTP Fin, DT D-Fin, DT Flex Fin, or Cutaway Fin. These are also available in different colors, letting you choose the color that suits your board’s style more.

Q: Does Donald Takayama know how to surf?

Yes, he does. Before he started to be an established surfboard shaper, he’s a surfer. He started to surf at a very young age, even though his board weighing 95 pounds. Also, he won surfing competitions back in 1964.

Q: What other things can I buy from the Takayama brand?

Aside from surfboards and fins, you can also find shirts and sweatshirts with various designs. Aside from these, it also offers caps and tank tops.

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