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Meet Guy Okazaki

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Guy Okazaki.

Guy Okazaki, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I started surfing with my father form the time I can remember and have been surfing ever since. The board building aspect followed along the same timeline. My Dad made his own boards so it was a natural process for me to follow.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The challenges have been very much like all business, economic, social, and physical. I have been through a few recessions and downturns, followed by booms and repeat. I’ve learned to just focus on my goals and not get too caught up in the things I have no control over.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Guy Okazaki Surfboards – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
My business started by outside forces. I was very close to Dewey Weber and Harold Iggy in Venice beach. They were the most successful board builders of their time. Dewey sponsored me with longboards and Harold would pass along his knowledge. This set the foundation.

I had been traveling back and forth to Hawaii to bond with family there when the shortboard revolution began. One of my mentors, Rabbit Kekai, introduced me to a whole new style of surfing and I was transformed. I returned to Dewey and pleaded with him to make me these new boards but he just laughed and pushed me off to Harold. Harold laughed longer and said the words that set my life off in this direction. He said I should do it myself and that I could use his shaping bay. I was stunned. I could never be good at it but Harold gave me the look and I could not quit.

I started making boards for myself only. I was in school and surfing competitively and didn’t have time to build boards. Outside forces enter the story. My friends start surfing, borrowing my boards, and this starts the unintended consequence. They love them so much I have to “borrow” them back. So instead of losing friends, I start to make more boards…

Today I honor my mentors, friends and family by remembering why I started this journey. To push forward with new ideas and design the fastest and loosest surfboard I possible can. Always striving for the most high performance and well-constructed product I can possibly build. I take pride in the fact that I am an apprentice of some of the greats of my industry. And that I have been continuously working to hold on to that tradition.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
The industry today is challenging. We are competing against imports and global economics. Regulations on materials and by products drive up our costs. I see a change ahead. I feel a new interest in the relationship between the shaper and the surfer. This really is the soul of what I do and I want to believe others feel it too.

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