The Man from Shōnan
This year there were lots of firsts for us at the Temple, and one of them was the legendary underground shaper Tahuya ‘Tappy’ Yoshikawa coming to visit. In tow with the sensei was his apprentice Ryo, and their arrival marked the first time we’ve had a Japanese shaper come to stay. It was a completely organic situation, with Tappy already having teamed up with Deus brothers Dane Peterson and Harrison Roach before he dropped by. We pulled out all the stops to make him feel at home, and he returned the gratitude by bringing over a few blanks with him and showing us how he does it over in the land of the rising sun. Tappy shapes and glasses his own boards, and having studied graphic design he’s a perfectionist when it comes to artwork and decals. He worked alongside our in-house resin man Victor, throwing around some vivid colors and revealing his intricate techniques. Boards like the Harry Glider, the Goliath, the Clipper, the Love Cat, and the Genesis slowly emerged from the glassing bay, and no-one at the Temple could help but take a closer look at these imaginative creations. A quick sit-down with Tappy gave us the chance we needed to delve a little deeper into the mind of this elusive shaper.
Tell us a little about how you hooked up with Deus?
I met Harry and Dustin when they came to my shape room for a magazine interview. I had shaped Harry's board in the past and he liked it very much. He said, "I'll introduce you to Dustin so you can come shape Deus boards!" and that's how it all began.
What were your main influences when you were shaping boards at the Temple?
Now that I really think about it, it was an exciting and intense experience. It was the time when Rich Pavel was at the temple, which made me a little nervous. However I also thought it was a good opportunity to show my shaping skill so I just did my best! Rich actually gave me some pointers on shaping and he also talked about his theory of shaping boards. It was a great learning experience just feeling the tremendous aura he has and how all of that corresponded to his theory.
We’ve heard that your protégé Ryo has never actually touched a board under your wing, is this true? Will you be letting him get his hands on one soon?
Ryo is still learning. There's a lot to learn like cleaning the factory, shipping, installing fin boxes and so on. I don't want him to be just a shaper who only shapes. I want him to learn everything from the beginning. The way I teach is Japanese style. By the way he’s started shaping skateboard decks!
You also build skateboards, was this a natural extension of your surfboard shaping or did you start out with skateboards?
Shaping skateboards is one of my hobbies. I just started shaping these when I needed a break from shaping surfboards. I liked pool skating as much as I liked surfing and I wanted a shape and size that I liked. I originally shaped for my own use and for a few friends. Now I get many requests for these which gets complicated.
How about the waves in Bali, did you score it?
Its been about 13years since my last Bali trip. Before, I would never miss the winters in Hawaii or the dry season in Indonesia. I’m a goofy foot so I love Uluwatu. Because I’m older now I was a little worried if I could catch some good waves but my beyond my expectations I did very well! The waves were good at Uluwatu. I was also surfing in Canggu every morning and shaping at the Temple after that! I was exhausted but had lots of fun.
Most memorable surf here?
When I first arrived there was a little bit of a big swell remaining and Uluwatu was about 8 to 10 meters high. Hyatt Reef had great solid 4 to 6 meter barreled waves. However I wasn't satisfied with my performance. I will be fit and ready by my next Temple visit!
Even if Tappy doesn’t come back to the Temple anytime soon, he and his crew are going to be a big part of how the upcoming Deus opening in Tokyo goes down. Thanks for dropping by, you’ll always be welcome back.