OCEANSIDE – Takayama. Chances are you recognize the name. In the surfing world, the name is as recognizable as a left breaking wave.
Guy Takayama is the third generation of surfers. His father Raymond shaped his own boards in the 1940s, so too did his uncle Donald, who last month was posthumously inducted into the Walk of Fame in Huntington Beach, Calif. for his pioneering in surfing and board shaping.
Takayama is now the last of his family to be carrying on their legacy of surfing and shaping, and he’s doing it the way his dad and uncle would have liked – by giving back.
Starting the weekend of Aug. 9, Takayama with the Oceanside Longboard Club are hosting the 29th annual Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club Contest and Guy Takayama Open.
Having the largest purse offered for a longboard competition, Takayama said he’s proud to have his name attached to the contest, which he’s taken over from his uncle about 20 years ago.
Approaching its 30th anniversary next year, the Oceanside Longboard Club, which Donald helped to create, this year will be trying to place in the top two or top three out of the 26 coalition teams to compete Sunday, said Jim Arganda, a member of the Oceanside Longboard Club’s board of directors.
At stake for the coalitions: bragging rights, points and, at the end of the year, the club with the most amount of points wins a plaque mounted on a surfboard for them to keep.
“Last year was the only year we didn’t win,” Arganda said. “We were in a three-peat mode…we took the coalition championship three years in a row.”
It’s a big event for Oceanside and the coalition, Arganda said.
At the heart of the club’s goals is to help foster the sport of surfing and to clear up any misconceptions people may have about surfers.
“We, and the majority of the surf clubs, are really family-oriented,” Arganda said. “Where maybe in the ‘50s and the ‘60s – even the ‘70s…it was all guys, but in the late-70s, early ‘80s it started transitioning into being a more family-oriented environment,” he said.
In the 1980s Takayama arrived on the scene, following in his dad’s and uncle’s footsteps, winning U.S. Championships, a World Championship title and a World Longboard Championship in Japan.
He was more or less born into surfing, he said, becoming hooked at that young age.
Watching his uncle surf in contests, which he can still vividly remember to this day, he was enthralled with the excitement of the crowds. He would tell his dad that he wanted to be like his uncle, surf like his uncle.
“My dreams came true,” Takayama said. “It’s just for the love of the sport, that’s why we do this. In surfing there’s really no money and we’re not looking for money. We like the lifestyle of a surfer. We love Mother Nature, the ocean, how we feel when we get out.
“That’s why we do it,” he added.
Surfing has the ability to affect people very strongly. “‘Only a surfer knows the feeling,’ it’s so true,” he said. “You can ski…you can do all these other sports, but when you’re out on the ocean, my Gosh, you have to be aware of your surroundings,” he said.
And then there’s the negative ions.
“And when you come to the surface, you can smell it, you can feel it; the energy there,” Takayama said. “Then once you’re up on the wave and you can actually ride the wave and you go, ‘Oh my Gosh, I’m being pushed along by Mother Nature,’ no motors no nothing.
“And all you hear is the breaking of the wave.”
In continuing to give back, Takayama, known for his long hair, at times even reaching down to his belt loops, he’ll be cutting it all off and donating it and the money raised to Locks of Love Sunday.
“That’s my personal way of giving back,” he said.
Giving back is important to Takayama; it’s something he hopes surfers of a younger generation will take up, too. “Today, in our society, everybody wants to take, take, take. I want to show that we still have the ‘Aloha’ here and this is how I grew up,” he added.
The event, which will feature live music and vendors, takes place at the Oceanside Pier. It’s free to the public, and all proceeds will go to benefitting the charities they support. For full details visit the Oceanside Longboard Surfing Club website.