A Linda Benson & Donald Takayama Board Story
Reflecting on a Treasured Piece of Surfing History
By Linda Benson | Surf Photos by Bobby Ah Choy | Lifestyle Photos by Chris Grant
During the later part of the 70’s many longboard surfers like myself briefly stepped away from surfing. Boards had gone radically short and the longboard vibe of the 60’s was gone. Then in the early 80’s, Dewey Weber and Donald Takayama kicked off the longboard resurgence by holding contests in Manhattan Beach and Oceanside. Word spread fast and longboards came down from garage rafters and other storage areas happily heading back to the waves.
I started working as a flight attendant with United Airlines in 1965 and in the 80’s was flying to Hawaii. Donald shaped this board for me to take to Honolulu so I could surf during my layovers. Rabbit Kekai, the legendary beachboy, helped me get a locker right next to his so he could keep an eye on it.
I would arrive from Los Angeles and get to the beach at different times but a favorite was late afternoon, surfing many times after sunset. The feeling, as I saw the hotel tiki torches being lit and heard the sounds of luau drums, is still vividly time stamped in my memory. When it was good in the morning, sometimes I’d cut it a little close… showering at the beach and racing back to my hotel that was two blocks away, just in time to throw my uniform on and climb on the bus back to the airport. Ready to come back to Honolulu the next day and do it all again.
Riding this board at Queens and Canoes with many of the beachboys and local friends was a privilege and honor… I’m forever grateful. Thank you, Donald Takayama, for your friendship since we were 15 and 16 years old and for this specially shaped board that was made from the heart. It was truly a magic carpet ride and I’ll treasure the memories forever.