Donald Takayama was born in 1944, in Waikiki, Hawaii. As a young surfer he finished runner-up in the United States Surfboard Championships in 1966 and 1967.
Takayama participated in several surf movies. "Surf Crazy" (1959), "Barefoot Adventure" (1960) and "The Seedling" (1999) brought his skills to the general public, by the hand of filmmakers like Bruce Brown and Thomas Campbell.
The surfboard shaping career started very early, when Donald was only 12 years old and traveled to Los Angeles to shape planks at Velzy/Jacobs Surfboards. After working at Weber Surfboards, Takayama kicked of his surfboard brand.
"It wasn't like it is today where – materials were simply not available. You really had to scrape the bottom or beat the alleyways to get anything. We made paipos out of plywood, just so we could ride a wave", Donald Takayama once told Liquid Salt magazine....
In the 1990s, Donald Takayama partnered with iconic waterman Joel Tudor to create a new collection of longboards. Their designs easily reached a planetary success.
"Surfing has been my life. It's all I've done. It really doesn't matter how big or small the waves are. When you are out there surfing you are really competing with yourself. Let's say you are in a bad mood and you go out surfing, you catch one good wave and it makes your whole day – heck, it makes your whole week".