Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Donald Takayama Erik Sommer model

When I first picked up my brand new never waxed Donald Takayama Erik Sommer model (The Scorpion), I didn't know what to expect. I have been riding longboards, more on the HP side, and the Scorpion is a high performance model. I was looking to get a Model T or a Double Ender to round out my quiver of various 9ft plus longboards, because I don't have a log in the traditional sense. The Scorpion sat on Craigslist for $775 for the better part of two months, and I wondered why. It is 9'0" X 22.5" X 3" has glass on sidebites and an 8 inch center fin. I paid $725 for it, but then sold the board bag it came with to some guy for $45, so the total price was $680 (keep in mind this board was brand new never waxed) I've had it for more than a month, and have surfed it at Doheny, Blackies, Church, south side of the the south jetty at O-side harbor, and southside of the Huntington Beach Pier. Here is a breakdown of how it rides at the spots ridden so far.

The initiation of the Scorp at Doheny was a nightmare. Not only was the SUP event going on, the waves sucked, the tide was high, and I lost the board, scratching the hell out of the nose as it went into shore.

I caught Church on a small day, 2-3ft. The waves were super clean and had that typical point breakish feel to it. The Scorpion handled really well. I was at first concerned that it might spin out because of its super extreme pintail, but this was not the case. Once locked in trim, the board was as stable as heck and I got my feet in the pink. Not a true noseride but cheater 5 at best. As a regular foot, my noseriding ability is better going left. DOn't ask why, that is just how it is. ON the lefts, I had a blast.

At Blackies the board did not perform the same as at Church. The waves were marginal and fairly weak, but I did get a feel for the performance aspect of the shape on a chest high freak left that came in. I buzzed fairly quickly down the line and again, the board held remarkably.

South Jetty O-side
I surfed the Scorp at the South Jetty at O-side with Donald Takayama's nephew, Michael Takayama. He sweared by the Scorpion, riding a 9'4" of his own. We surfed smallish South Jetty, and this is where Mike taught me how to set the Scorp up for noseriding. I heeded his advice and really got a good feel for the board. The Scorp has a much narrower nose than my since sold In The Pink, and that narrowness caused me to be skeptical before I even waxed the board up (I was going to trade it for a Takayama Double Ender, thank god I didn't) I was doing things on the Scorp that I never have done on a longboard, just really taking advantage of that extreme pintail.

South Side of HB Pier
This is where I really got the performance feel of the Scorpion. ON the last wave of my day, I took off left and just smacked the lip twice, so much so that a guy on a fish who saw the whole thing said, "Damn nice wave" I replied, yes perfect wave to end the session. Now I have never whipped a longboard around like I can with the Scorpion, and also never felt the stability that the design brings. The design just works. Better than my In the Pink, my Ole, my Hobie Fusion, and my Michel Junod.

After my session with Michael at O-side, I asked him why my board didn't sell. He had no idea, and I replied, "Because nobody knows how the Scorpion rides" And he agreed. In my mind, the Scorpion aka Erik Sommer model is Donald's best kept secret in modern longboards.

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