Everyone knows and loves Andy Irons, the brilliant surfer who was going from strength to strength who’s life suddenly ended two years to this day. The surfing community are still mourning his death with memorials being held on an annual basis. Not only was he an epic surfer, but he was just a great. He was loved amongst surfers that came into contact with him. He was known for his big bear hugs. He would always stop off and give his fans some time with an autograph. nothing gave him more pleasure in helping out the kids where he often surfed in Indonesia. This is a guy who everyone will miss for many years to come.
Donlad Takayama was not known for being in the limelight like Andy Irons was. Shapers make great boards so that pros can perform like they do, but they don’t get enough credit out of it. Donald didn’t design any boards for Andy Irons. He focused on longboards. Sadly, Donald passed away on the 22 October 2012 of complications during a heart surgery.
Messages poured into facebook, saying how much Donald would be missed and loved. Family, friends, surfers, shapers and friends had a genuine respect and love for this man. He started his passion for this industry when he was only a youngster. In fact he was just 12 when the family moved from Hawaii to California, where he was able to meet up with a professional shaper at the tender age of 13. Dave Meltz saw that Donald was going to go places and took him under his wing.
Not only was Donald a pro shaper, but those who are in their 60′s and are keen surfers will remember this guy as one of the best longboarders around. He always had a trick up his sleeve. In fact in 1966 he came up runner up to Corky Carroll in the US Surfboard competitions, which was a serious achievement.
Just like Andy Irons, Donald Takayama was a gem of a guy. Everyone who came into contact with him will tell you of this. Surfers will tell you that he has a lot of character and when it came to shaping he was passionate about what he did, which is something you don’t see a lot in this day and age.
Andy Irons used to display magic, performing aerials over just about any sort of wave and mouths would just hang open. Whilst the surfing community misses his performances, as well as Andy as a person, we must not forget the genius and talented shapers. These guys put so much love and care into making boards that stand out and help pros get to where they are today. Boards are often customized with certain tweaks, making the ride that much better.
As brilliant surfers and shapers leave us, its important not to look down at our flip flops, becoming depressed and despondent, saying “who’s left?”. This is where the new generation comes in – those who have been mentored by the greats, sporting talents of their own who will be shaping the industry. One has to be ready for change.