It’s time for our published review of the Donald
Takayama 10’3” stand up paddle surfboard. When we first saw the board a few
months, ago, we walked right past it not knowing it was a stand up paddle
surfboard. Laying there on the sand, it looks like a traditional longboard. According
to one of Surftech's RD guys over here on Oahu, the shape has it's roots in one of Takayama's proven longboard templats,
with slight modifications. We took the DT out for several sessions on Oahu’s North Shore,
and in our estimation, the board has its pros and cons, and truthfully, it
might be exactly what you're looking for. One of our staff got his first stand
up paddle barrel on the board, so it’s definitely got its place in a quiver.
Now, on to the review…
To start off, and let you know the angle this review is coming
from, most of our board testing was done in waist to head high reef breaks. As
always the first few waves we caught on the board were just straight-shooter
kind of waves. We weren’t trying to do anything radical as we were getting a
feel for the equipment. We were delighted with how well the 10’3” DT held its
line coming across the face of the wave. It had plenty of down the line speed,
making sections that continuously threatened to close out.
The board is a great noserider. We
had no problems at all getting the toes over the nose. In fact, the board
seemed to have this gravitational force on the nose that sucked us right up
there at just the right time. The noserides were long and controlled. The tip
control says a lot of about Takayama and his boards. It’s one things to be able
to get up the tip, lock it in and so, and it’s a whole other game when you can
get up to the nose and control the board while you’re up there. The DT 10’3”
has great tip control.
Surfing off the tail, it would be killer with the right fin setup. We tested
the board with some bigger twin-fin sidebites paired with a small center
stabilizer fin. The ride was smooth but tended to spin out when we really tried
to crank hard cutbacks. We attribute this to the fins, and not the board, since
twin-fin setups aren’t necessarily designed for radical surfing maneuvers. With
a single fin, or a 2 + 1, we feel that the board would have held strong. Next
time, we’ll swap out the fins and give it another run.
We thought it would have more flat water glide to it than it did, considering
the length. After the session, we examined the rocker and there didn’t appear
to be any flat sections in the overall rocker. There was more of a continuous curve
from the nose to the tail, which would explain the lessened glide. Would we say
that the board was lacking in glide, no, but it had less than we expected. That
said, on the flip side, the curvature matched the shape of the wave perfectly. Although
it took a little more effort than expected to get into the wave, once in, the
board’s finely tuned rocker matched the shape of the wave and made for smooth
and extended rides. The rocker makes the board feel very natural on the wave.
The board features a vee bottom toward the tail. The vee helps with
rail-to-rail transitions and turning on the wave. At the same time, in our
estimation, the vee adds a degree of initial tippiness to the board in flat
water. However, the board never tipped all the way over for us. It could be
compared to riding a bike with training wheels. It's tippy, but when the bike
leans over enough, the training wheels keep you from falling all the way over.
The last thing we noticed about the board was the domed deck. The deck of the
board is similar to the template of a traditional prone-paddle surfboard, an
even curve from the centerline to the rails of the board. We found this
somewhat uncomfortable as compared to boards with a flatter deck. The curved deck
seemed to put additional stress on our knees and ankles while paddling in flat
water, causing our knees to bow outward ever so slightly. Again, with more
water time on the board, we may have found a way to compensate for this.
Well, that’s our take on the DT 10'3". The other sizes will have slight
differences in shape and buoyancy. To wrap it all up, the Donald Takayama
10'3" is a performer. The board rides waves like a champ. It is fast, it’s
great off the nose, and will definitely not let you down as your skills
improve, and true one stick quiver. Can it take the big waves? We recall seeing
one or two pro longboarders, including Kai Sallas, charging on DT stand up paddleboards
at the 2008 Steinlager contest at Sunset
Beach. With Donald
Takayama’s expertise and Surftech’s almost indestructible Tuflite technology, the DT 10’3” stand up paddle surfboard could be your magic stick
For more information about the DT lineup at Surftech, visit www.surftech.com.