Words by Saehee Cho
Photography By Justin Chung

Guy Okazaki, Surfboard Shaper

Venice, CA

Guy Okazaki is a true son of the sea. His earliest memories are of Waikiki beaches and playing in the sand. “When I was first born my dad was working his day job as a beach boy at the Halekulani Hotel and he’d take me to work with him. He’d literally take me to the beach, put me in the sand and said stay here. From the time I can remember until they took me to school I was crawling around in the sand. So, the first memories I have are of spending the day at the beach with my dad, all day long; digging holes, playing with the fish, learning how to navigate in the ocean, and even almost dying a few times.”
Sitting in the backyard of the same Venice home his father purchased in 1956, his life is not so different than those early years in Hawaii. He’s never lived more than a matter of blocks from the ocean. And in return, the ocean has kept him vital, active, and strong. A lifetime surfer, he also makes some of the most sought after custom surfboards in the world. He’s a rare craftsman in a landscape of monopolizing big brands and cheap imports. “California used to be the epicenter of the of the surf world. The industry as a whole has been taxed the last three years. And it’s not just me, it’s my vendors. The local surfboard industry is being challenged by cheap imports from Thailand and China. What’s happening in the industry now is what’s happening across the world.”

Full story available in Faculty Department Vol. 2

Photographed in 2016 – Venice, CA