Victory KoreDry Website SUP
Ad space now available! Click here  for details.
HOME arrow GEAR INSIGHTS arrow BOARD REVIEW (In Surf): Surftech's Ali'i IV shaped by Donald Takayama
BOARD REVIEW (In Surf): Surftech's Ali'i IV shaped by Donald Takayama PDF Print E-mail
By: Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine   
Saturday, 03 May 2008
ImageIt’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. 

ImageThe 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

feed6 Comments
October 24, 2011

I'm 5'4" tall, a woman, and weigh 120 lbs. I've surfed for about 10 years. Mostly longboarding in Santa Barbara/Ventura and Santa Cruz. I'm trying to decide between the 10'3" or the 10'7". Any suggestions. This would be my first SUP, but I'm not new to surfing, just new to supping. I am also a dancer, so I have excellent balance.

July 28, 2008

Great review. It included all the elements about a board to give insights into whether or not the board might be what the reader is looking for. I rode the Tak 10-3 in small surf and came to the same conclusions you did. The board surfs like a performance laydown longboard. The only downside for me is that, as an older guy, the board is unstable enough that the paddler/rider has to work all the time to maintain balance. This just wears me out faster over a more stable board. Nevertheless, the Takayama is a great board. Thanks.

a guest
May 05, 2008

The 11'0" DT Alii I is a fun noserider and I Hang Ten all the way from the Point at Maili to past the canal... Handstands are easy on this SUP too...
Lars Hansen
Santa Cruz

a guest
May 05, 2008

I heard Becker has a bunch of these..

a guest
May 04, 2008

I definitely need one or two for my stand up quiver... gonna have tons of fun At Diamond Head, Waikiki and Ala Moana... and next winter on small to medium days at Laniakea and Chunnns... Yes!!! Thanks

a guest
May 03, 2008

The Mrs. got to ride one last weekend and was sold on it. She felt comfortable with the deck and the glide factor in the lagoon was nothing to worry about. Not to mention the Werner paddle made her smile.

Write comment
smaller | bigger

security image
Write the displayed characters

< Prev   Next >
Twitter Facebook RSS
4-Way Stretch Boardshorts

Copyright 2007 Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine. All rights reserved worldwide.
Terms and Conditions of Use - Privacy Policy - Site Map - Contact Us - Advertise
Web Design by Integrity Online Marketing