I was born in Heart Mountain Wyoming in 1944. Heart Mountain, Wyoming had a relocation camp for Japanese Americans. We were uplifted out of our homes in LA and stayed in Santa Anita race track until they finished building relocation  camps across the US.

 I started surfing in 1959 after the movie Gidget came out. I saw the movie and I have been stoked on surfing ever since. I didn’t have a car but I had an older buddy and a friend of a friend had a board and he took me surfing for the 1st time. I then twisted my mom‘s arm shortly thereafter and she bought me a balsa wood surfboard with a Velzy business card laminated to the board.

When I got out of the Army I went to El Camino College and then I transferred to Long Beach State and I decided I wanted to be a school teacher. Both my sisters are school teachers and my sister always said. "when you get a job you have to have a job that you enjoy otherwise you won’t be very happy". I taught junior high school for eight years and then at Pacifica High School for 25 years. It was a great job, I enjoyed it so much, I was the football announcer for 25 years, the basketball announcer for 20 years and activist director. 

The whole time I was teaching, I surfed on the weekends, during the summer and during Christmas vacation and Easter vacation. When I was in my late 40s my good friend Bruce Takahashi, who I surfed with in my 20’s, moved back to Huntington Beach. We hadn’t see each other in a while and when we got back together we realized the number of days you have left in life is a finite number so we both made a promise to each other that every chance we get we were going to surf. So I’ve kept up my end of the bargain and I SURF SURFI SURF SURF between 340 and 350 days a year. The only time I don’t is when my wife and I go on vacation or when we go to Vegas three or four times a year. I ride a long board but I’m working my way down, so I’m down to a 7’11. I just ordered a 7’8 Becker so hopefully that’ll be ready in about a month. I’m getting down there on the size of my boards!



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    Sherry Mueller: September 29, 2022

    Hi Don ,
    Thank you for sharing your life story !
    Glad to see you are doing so well.
    Best regards,

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    Garret Rose : January 19, 2021

    Mr. Nakamura!! I had no idea that you were part of the interment camps! I live about 70 miles from Topaz, which was one of them. I taught about the internments when I was a teacher, and would have loved to have connected and discussed your ordeal. Surfing is awesome and a great way to heal wounds, both physical and emotional. Thanks for being an awesome teacher. I hope we can cross paths again, one way or another. Garret Rose, PHS class of ’98.

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    Karen: January 19, 2021

    When I grow up I want to be like Don🤗

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    Joseph Miller: January 19, 2021

    Fuck ya dude!

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