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Donald Takayama Scorpion

Donald Takayama Scorpion

Here is a sweet little board that super versatile and fun to ride. The Scorpion is a design that Donald shaped from 5ft. something to over 9ft.

Since the poly boards are harder to find and super expensive(even used). I went for the SurfTEC version. The first day I was so stoked to take it out that I went out in sloppy conditions. Got a few decent waves but nothing to write about or even get a real feel for the board.

When I got it on a good day the board took a I caught my share of waves on this. It takes some paddling like a 5’10″ would but easy enough to hang just outside and catch them early. Once on the wave it was fast nice and turnable and really fun. I have the board set up with quad fins. There is decent drive off the bottom. The board had immediate speed because of its lightness and stiffer construction. Every ounce of energy the wave pushed is reflected by the board. Once on the face or the flat of the wave you could gain and maintain speed by pumping it. My experience was: paddle to get in, take off is fast with the board on top of the water, slide it into the pocket and hold on, come out start turning or shuffle to the front for get some forward time, get foot back and make another few pumps and try for a floater. Maybe not all on one wave but you get the idea.

The turning was good with the quad set up and the single fin just drew out the line a bit. So you what every style or wave you are feeling you can make adjustments.

Riding the nose attainable on the right wave and placement. I was able to get a cheater 5 for short times but did not ever hang out there like a long board which is expected. However getting back to make a sharp cut back or turn was fast and easy.

The design is solid – its a Donald Takayama and he is the master. It makes sense and does what it is intended to do. A++

The SurfTEC part of it is more of an acquired taste. Light, buoyant and stiff make the board is fast, reactive and tough. But it is also less forgiving or organic then p/u(if you can say that about poly). Meaning don’t expect the flex and groove of a traditional p/u board. Its just different and thats not a bad thing. But the durability and getting the dimensions right every time along with a fast vehicle makes the SurfTEC model worth of considering.

All in all a very cool board to put in the quiver and toss in your surf-mobile for an option on your surfari or just to getting wet on a lunch get break.

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31 Responses to “Donald Takayama Scorpion”

  1. Tom says:

    Thanks for the review. Been eyeing the board for a year now but couldn’t find any recent reviews until now. They are pricey though. Few have slipped through my Craigslist watch but I will have my hands on one soon!

  2. Jordan says:

    Yup, I’m in the same boat as Tom, being eyeing these up for a while.
    Understand its great in tiny waves, but any though on how it would go in bigger stuff. Say 3-5 foot?

  3. The Logfather says:

    Hi Jordan, I have surfed it in solid 3ft occ. 4ft at North Hunting Pier if your familiar with those waves. Its a wave that will gets up but not fast and barreling. Some might call it mushy. To me it a middle style wave which I like.

    Regarding this board on bigger waves; for me having that large nose did not inspire the same confidence as a nice quad / bonze / tri fin with the pulled in traditional short board shape. Dropping in late on a larger wave would be all you do. At least for me. If you ride any board a ton and are good you could ride a volan log at Pipe ala Phil Edwards. Also, the SurfTEC version did seem to get away from me on some late drops and leave me swimming.

    Bottom line wave choice is a big deal, if riding larger waves it’s better then a long board by about 4 feet but still has some limits with the almost 19″ nose.

  4. Tom says:

    Update: was able to get one actually hand shaped by DT in a quad set up on Craiglist for a good chunk of change. Bigger than I wanted but it’s all good. Intial thoughts, board paddles ok, not quite like a longboard as advertised, but that is to be expected. The flat rocker makes it harder to ride steeper waves, but it does get up and go pretty good. Turns extremely well for a 6’8″. Haven’t been able to get used to it yet but it is very fun.

  5. Edz says:

    Excellent fun board to ride in small to medium condition. Used it in sloppy conditions back home (the Netherlands), but also in some nice walls in France. I found it easier to turn with the truster set up than the quad. Haven’t used the single fin setup yet, but expect to do when conditions are right. However some reviews about the fin setup would be nice. After I have bought this board I don’t expect to use my longboard that often anymore…..

  6. bruno says:

    i’m trying to get to grips with this board. I’m a pretty average(almost good:) longboarder and stepping down to a 6’8 was weird. I only surfed it twice so far but it flies and turns really quick. It’s not a shrunken down longboard that’s for sure. It’s not an easy transition from a 9’3 in the pink to this 6’8 but i’m sure i’ll come to grips with it. In the first surf i tried the quad setup but for me the board was too loose, now i’m trying the single fin with two sidebites.

    My main intention was to have a smaller board which i could ride in bigger surf without the strain from stepping down from the log. There’s some swell hitting where i live(portugal) so i’ll keep this topic updated.

  7. The Logfather says:

    Hi Bruno,

    Thanks for your comment.

    I say the best way to get used to a smaller board coming off a longboard is to just keep riding it. You have an In The Pink which is almost the same outline but with a square tail and the rails are also similar. The Scorpion should be a good transition to shorter boards. You just need to put the time in on it.

    What is your break like? Is it steep or more mild and relaxed? The if more relaxed the the Scorpion will work in larger waves. The possible draw back to the Scorpion in the bigger hollow wave is the big ol wide nose. The rest of the board will work fine. At 6’8″ you should be able to get in early.

    Looking forward to hearing how its works for you.

  8. Julia says:

    Hey folks,
    These boards look really beautiful.
    Would you recommend them for a beginner?
    I’ve had a weeks worth of lessons so am very novice.
    I can stand and ride small stuff on an 8foot & love it.
    Please say if I’m punching well above my weight.
    Cheers all,
    j

  9. The Logfather says:

    Hi Julia,

    The Scorpion comes in all different sizes. I have seen it over 9′ and as short as 5’10″.

    For a beginner I would recommend going with a longer version of this board. You can typically find these boards from 5’10″ to 8′ in the SurfTech construction. The waves you surf would be work into your decision. I would probably get one as long as you can find it not dipping under the 6’8″ model. Shorter than that you might get frustrated and lose interest. Like I told the guy above the best thing to get any board wired it to put your time in on it. The great thing about a Takayama Scorpion is that the resale is great so you really won’t lose your shirt if you get it ride and figure out it’s not for you. You can just sell it. I am sure if you posted a for sale on this page your board would be sold really quick. (depending on your location). Hope that helped.

  10. Julia says:

    Hey thanks a million.
    That sounds smart.
    Just gotta find one now :-D

  11. Jill says:

    I am a middle aged female and usually surf a 7’6″ mini mal. Sometimes I surf a break where there are lots of older guys on really long mals who pick up most of the waves out the back and it’s very frustrating. I want a board so I can sit out there and compete, but I’m only short and slim and don’t want to carry a heavy long board or get it through the white water. A guy recommended I look at one of these Scorpions. Do you think this would work for me? I want to be able to get on to the waves really early.

  12. bruno says:

    Hi,

    well i’ve put some time on it, but the thrill of longboarding has taken over once again:) I love to longboard, period. I was considering a smaller board for bigger days and for traveling.

    For a transition from a longboard i would go for a bigger version of the scorpion, the 6’8 is too short at least for me.
    Paddling is ok at best as the wide nose(?) or the shape itself creates quite some drag. The single fin setup is better than the quad. With the quad the board feels like a skateboard. But i have to say it’s an easy and forgiving board and it can handle steep hollow waves as good as fat ones.
    As i was looking for another approach on my surfing, i purchased two boards, one was the scorpion the other one was the Joel Tudor Diamond Egg, 6’9.

    The Tudor board is an easier board, but being a single fin the surf has to be quite old school. Deep bottom turns and you loose the tail. But it paddles easier and gets in the waves faster.
    It has one curious thing though: when you ride it sometimes it makes a hissing sound, don’t know why. Tried different fins but the sound remains. It’s actually quite funny, but i would guess something is off shape wise. It shouldn’t do that kind of noise….

    Both boards are good in my opinion and you can’t get wrong with any of them. I’m a soul bred longboarder, it will be always more fun to step on a log, but those two are pretty good stepdowns if you’re considering a different approach on your surfing skills.

  13. The Logfather says:

    Thanks Burno for your review after giving the shorter boards a try.

    I have to agree with you there really is nothing that can replace the surfing experience of a long board. For me its the glide, the fun of turning and controlling a heavier 9’6″ or longer board, walking to the nose, trimming etc. Shorter board (IMO) don’t always offer as much variety in ways you can ride them.

    However for me I really do like to switch it up from the log to a shorter board. It just gives surfing that much more variety and options from how you ride to the waves you can ride.

    But if I had to choose one board to ride forever it would be a long board.

  14. bruno says:

    Hi,

    my personal problem is the time you need to adapt to a shorter board and have some fun. You HAVE to put the time on it, otherwise you will loose interest fast.

    Another “personal” problem is bigger waves. I like them (not 15ft plus:) but bigger than recommended for a longboard. You can ride your log in those conditions but all you do is bumping over the place and try to keep a line. And breaking them is expensive at least for me.

    So here’s my approach to shorter boards. Any time it get’s bigger than 5-6 foot i’ll use either the Joel Tudor or the Scorpion. Any smaller than that the log is my personal favourite.

    Winter is coming to Portugal and thus pumping swell:)

    Remember always: the best surfer is the guy who is more happy in the water, independent of what equipment you ride…

  15. ken says:

    Hi My name is Ken , I am Taiwanese and I love surfing , every weekend I go surfing , the thing is I don’t have surf board , I borrow my friend’s long board now I am thinking to get my own , before I get one I have few questions to ask:
    1. I am 57″ft and 136 lb what kind of surf board I should buy and use?
    Taiwan don’t have big wave , and surf board store only sell Epoxy surf board . I never have use short board . I really love your surf board but I have no idea which one I should get? Can you please help me. Thank you!!!

  16. Frank Talley says:

    From Northern Santa Barbara, in Goleta Was having great day surfing & a friend Mark Livingston came up to me & gave me one of the 1st Scorpions. surfed it for years could do almost anything would love to have it now. It was way ahead of it’s contemporaries. nose riding, turning, kicked up tail with 3 short fins, had a controlled liquidness about it.
    could turn while on the nose, break loose & side-slip lots of fun & surprizes. Will never forget….Thanks a million Mark.

  17. Jonny says:

    Ben Riding this board for a week now, when I found out Donald Passed It pushed me to ride his board in honor. bought a 6″8, paddles good, but the beauty of the board is the work it does on the wave. Slides into the pocket nice and turns super easy. The big front end makes the board really stable, and the pin tale and quad set up make everything else fun. Great Board.

    Regarding Ken – I’d get a long board my man, for your size look somewhere in the 9″ range to start. that will keep it fun, easy, and let you get the fundamentals down.

    Have fun.

    Rip DT

  18. Tom says:

    Update on this board. Been riding it consistently for a few months now. LOVE IT…and fun as hell. Only thing is that last weekend I decided to pull into a close out rather than through it…it was fun until I got up and one of my FCS plugs got pulled out!!! It’s now with Ding Drx in HB for repairs. Can’t wait to get her back!

  19. Joser says:

    Hi.. I’m in the market for one.
    Looking for 6’4″ and up : D
    Pls help. Sopa0469@aol.com

  20. Pete says:

    First surf on the 6’8″ Scorpion was in fittingly 6-8′ point waves.
    Had been working all day and got home (checked the wind direction the net) to see the wind which had been onshore all day had swung offshore.
    Scooted to the car and zipped off to the beach. Swell had been big the day before but I thought it had actually dropped some.
    Arrived at my local point to discover big lines and freshening offshores.
    I’d only brought the scorpion though I had a 6’10″, 7’4″ and 7’6″ at home.
    Run what you brung I thought. Had DVS keel quads in it.
    Paddled out and didn’t have to wait long for a big one.
    Paddled into it just fine…bottom turned and racing a long section the lip hit close to the inside rail.
    A second and board had flipped over and smashed the rail into my shin.
    First wave on it and a bloodied shin and cracked rail.
    No harm, no foul, play on.
    Caught a slew of set waves and the scorpion amazed me in how well it handled the size.
    As time went by the offshores really picked up and it was like having a firehose sprayed in my face while trying to take off.
    This is when the disadvantage of a 19″ nose and light construction show up.
    Since that day I’ve surfed it in a wide range of conditions and love the board.
    Yesterday Noosa was pumping again and the board showed its worth being such a good paddler and wave catcher in the over-crowded conditions.
    Pretty keen to get a surf on the 5’10″ for smaller beachbreak days.

  21. Tom says:

    Wanted a shorter Scorpion but didn’t want a pop out or the $1K price tag for one not shaped by the man himself so I went and picked up a Titan DLX from Evolved Surfboards. He has some minor tweaks like more concave doble vee, etc. but overall paddles and rides like the scorpion but turns better and holds a better line. Price is very cheap as well. Check him out Joser. His Titan original is supposedly to be the most like the Scorpion as far as rocker, concave, etc.

  22. Pete says:

    An update on the 5’10″ Scorpion.
    Scored a lend of a 5’10″ demo and rode it at Tea Tree, Noosa today.
    Not the best waves at 2-3′ and high tide but good enough to get a feel for the board in comparison to my 6’8″.
    Ran a set of Scrafini HX2 (medium) fronts with Stretch rears.
    Normally run H2 (large) fronts and Scarfini HX2 rears in the 6’8″.
    Paddle ok and was easy enough to catch waves on.
    Up and riding and it feels a lot smaller than the 6’8″.
    Lacked the projection of the longer board and so suffered from the lack of drive.
    Wasn’t able to make it easily down the line compared to my longer board.
    A combination of a later take off and without the connected feel of the longer board which btw surfs shorter than it’s length.
    The shorter board felt like a Surftech when riding it but the 6’8″ doesn’t have the same feel.
    Getting the right volume for your weight would be a big part of this.
    Consequently I’ll be sticking with the 6’8″ as my tiny to over head wave board…it’s that versatile since I surf points a lot.
    I’m 200lb, 6’1″ and almost 50 so the easy surfability of the shape is something I’m really enjoying.
    Puttig the right fins in it will make all the difference and it will still easily go vertical and does great wrap around cutbacks.
    Apparently in Australia anyway the scorpion is no longer available as recipients for royalty payments have to be worked out since Donald has passed away.
    Maybe they’ll go back into production.

  23. Pete says:

    Hey Tom,
    Mission impossible to get one shaped by Donald.
    I couldn’t imagine my Scorpion turning any better.
    I’ve have/had McCoys, Simon Andersons, Webbers, Dick Van Straalen, Bourtons, Al Byrnes and so on and so on in my quiver over the years and the Takayama is brilliant in its marriage of mini-noserider off the tail ripper.

  24. Paul says:

    I bought the 7’0″ Surftech in yellow (my board colors) after searching and sitting on the fence for many months. Bought it the day I heard Donald died (I saw and surfed with DT in North County, San Diego in 70s through 90s). I kitesurf on this board (as quad), strapless of course. It is now my go to board. Awesome, this is the next big thing haha. I just love it. Working on cross stepping up and back and cheater 5s etc (with kite). The boards turns like a much shorter board and trims like an LB. Very light (fragile for kiting). Seriously considering the 6’8 or 6’4 (that is how much I love it). Anyone have a 3D scan file of one of these? Would like to have one or quiver built to endure the rigors of kiting. Hope I did not derail this thread too badly.

  25. HT says:

    I recently picked up this exact board second hand (grey Surftech 5’10″ with M5/M3 quad setup). I had been searching for a while for the ideal third board to do the job in weaker beach breaks when I might normally resort to a Mal.

    To give you some context I am an intermediate level surfer in my mid 30s. I am 6’2″ about 200lbs and have a pretty poor fitness level. I currently ride a 6’6″ Firewire Alternator, and a 9’2″ Walden Magic. Lately I have been almost exclusively riding my Mal so was keen to retain my surfing youth and try something different.

    I wanted to try the Baked Potato from Firewire but finding demo’s where I live is nigh on impossible. So I started looking into alternatives, and managed to find this Scorpion.

    I tested it out for the first time today in clean 2ft conditions and had a ball. Paddle wise the surftech definitely gives you an edge. With the volume up front I found it easy to get into waves early, and once up it just took off like a rocket. The board is super fun, it is really manoeuvrable, and handles the fat sections with ease. I played around with my front foot placement a bit, finding the sweet spot just behind/on the Takayama deck sticker. With my front foot here it harnessed the best from the straight line speed yet also responded so well when laying down cutties. I had so much fun racing down the line today at times I felt like I was 14 year old ripping down the street on a skateboard.

    Good times.

  26. Tom says:

    Update…after riding the replica Scorpion with tweaks I decided to go shorter. Couldn’t find a used scorpion and no longer enjoyed the tweaks of the Titan, I went with a Custom Pynzer from Oak Foils. I’m 38, 5’7″ and 175 wet. I know it’s not the real deal, but it was the closest I could find to a shorter version of my 6’8″ scorpion that would also be a blast too ride. The Pynzer is definitely a blast to ride. Works in slop, etc. but I know when conditions are too big or small for the Pynzer I can always take my scorpion back out….but man…being one that is handshaped and signed by Donald himself, I cringe when I think about anything that may happen to it.

  27. salvador says:

    Hi,
    My situation is similar to Bruno’s. I live in Portugal, normally ride a longboard (9’1)but would like to try again a smaller board with longboard characteristics. I am unsure on what to get, a Walden Magic Model 8’0 or a Takayama Scorpion 7’6. Which one would hold better on bigger and hollower waves (6 to 8 ft waves)?
    Any help is welcome.
    Many thanks
    Salvador

  28. The Logfather says:

    Hi Salvador,

    Thanks for checking out the site. The Scorpion has a lot of curiosity about it for all types of surfers. If you are comparing the a 7’6″ scorpion to a 8′ Walden Magic I would say you are coming pretty close to the same mark over all. Are they both surftech? That can make a big difference if one is not. However if they are made from the same material poly or surftech then here are my observations:

    Scorpion- has a wider nose so keep that in mind on those larger maybe steeper waves. But it has a semi pin tail so that is good for speeding down the wave. The Scorpion usually comes with several different fin set ups; single, quad or 2 plus 1. The rails are turned down and good to float on top of the wave.

    Walden Magic Model- This is a slight more narrow board and comes I believe in single and 2 plus 1 fin set up. I have seen these boards but not ridden one personally. I have read a lot and Walden makes claims these can ride large waves in the 6-8 foot range your are talking about. I have seen other surfers in bigger surf with them but also ridding them in smaller surf. Has anyone reading this ridden walden in large waves? Anyway this one being a bit more narrow and might have a edge – but a lot depends on the wave you plan on riding. I am guessing if you are riding a long board they are more sloping and not steep and barreling.

    If it where me I would consider a different board all together something with a pulled in nose and maybe a bit shorter. but that is for the waves I surf in So.Cal. Your situation maybe much different. Thanks for being part of the group.

  29. HT says:

    Took my Scorpion out in some solid 3-5foot waves and I was stoked with its performance. Didn’t slide out, and I was able to throw out some nice rail to rail carves on the face. I might have to sell my regular shortboard as this board is performing well in all conditions so far

  30. JW says:

    I owned a Scorpion 6’8 tuflite for about a year. I usually surf HP longboards and was looking for something a bit faster and more maneuverable for bigger days. I am 6’4 and weighed about 210 pounds at the time.
    The 6’8 paddled great and I could easily duckdive it. I surfed it from small waves to almost double overhead points. Because of the volume you can get into the waves early and it is basically one of the fastest boards I have ever ridden. I liked the quad setup because of the skatey feeling. For smaller waves I actually prefered my longboards. Being a pretty small board meant a lot of work paddling into small stuff (for me at least).
    The wide nose that is a big plus most of the time got in the way in the bigger faster stuff. That is the only negative and only occurs in situations the board is not really meant for.
    I actually buckled the board semi-noseriding towards the beach and suddenly pearling and hitting the bottom. My complete weight on the front 15 cm of the board was too much for it and it folded.
    Actually looking at a Joel Tudor Diamond Egg right now.

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