I Am Los Angeles is a video portrait series created by journalist and filmmaker Joris Debeij, showcasing the unique people and their ideas that make L.A. what it is. KCET Departures will be featuring these videos as part of our continuing coverage of the shifting cultures of Los Angeles.
Every morning before he goes into his shaping room, Guy Okazaki goes out and checks out the waves. "Like a crazy person," he says. Over the years, Guy has collected cherished memories of the most amazing waves he has ever seen and surfed.
No less cherished are Guy's memories of his father, who fought in WWII and instilled in his son a mentality to "Go for broke" in everything you do. It's as though Guy decided to apply this concept in his surfing life: the man simply lives and breathes surfing.
Guy's dad also taught him how to shape a surfboard, and for as long as Guy can remember, his dad had been shaping boards in the backyard. Guy began shaping boards himself after he graduated from college and moved to Venice, California. In case you didn't know, Venice is one of the places where surfing really took off, and it's still vastly popular there today, with a huge influence on local culture. Guy started his career at one of the five custom surfboard shops in Venice, when he started working for Dewey Webber and Harold Iggy.
Guy fell in love with it and has been doing it ever since. The Venice shaper still lives and breathes surfing, and is a bit of a local celebrity. You can find him most mornings surfing close to the Venice pier. And if he is not there, than there is probably a board of his in the water surfing the waves.
Check out more video portraits at I Am Los Angeles.