One of the Old Guys found this photo of legendary shaper (and friend) Donald Takayama and former NFL great Junior Seau yesterday.
Just looking at it gives me chicken skin.
Junior died in May. Donald — to everyone’s surprise — died yesterday.
The official word is Takayama died of a heart attack, though other reports says he died from complications with surgery. Whatever happened, he shouldn’t have died. He still had a lot of surf in him, and everyone who’s surfed with him in Waikiki, where he grew up and continued to rip, will miss him.
I didn’t know him when he lived here. Donald moved to California back in the ’60s — well before I was born. But whenever he was in town — which was fairly often — he would paddle out to Queen’s and snag a few waves in his signature style. We were kindred goofy-footers out there in the lineup, and he knew just how good that left is at Queen’s.
He would join us for coffee sometimes, always smiling and telling stories. At 68, he still had that stoke.
It makes me think about how often I decide not to paddle out or complain about the waves in town. Here’s this guy who had could surf wherever he wanted, and he still loved the friendly surf at Waikiki. Shame on me for being such a wave snob.
I’ve been riding Takayama boards for years. In fact, my first epoxy is a Takayama and it’s still my go-to board.
The surfing world has lost a master, but our gang has lost a friend.
But I’m sure he’s happy where he is now. I hear the waves up there are always perfect.