Study Hull: Oldenburg NXT

Study Hull is an ongoing photo-journal blog series with Maker Kahana Kalama as he test pilots a variety of surf crafts and shares his insights into the mechanics of each board and how they perform. For more of Kahana’s daily surf expeditions and more, follow him in Instagram/Twitter – @kahanak

Photos in this set by Wesley Scheler

Childhood on the east side of Oahu was an interesting one. I was indoctrinated into competitive surfing at an early age and as a 12 year old, in 1995, I wanted nothing more than to be able to land chop hops. It is safe to say I fell victim to the times.

I surfed in an NSSA just about every other weekend and contrary to Hawaii’s perfect wave stigma, most events were held in small windblown surf. It wasn’t until one of my friends got his license at 16 that we finally begin venturing out to the North Shore. And that was usually reserved for holidays and weekends. It’s true, the surf on the North Shore really was that good. However, as a grom from the Eastside, it realistically accounted for less than 10% of my time in the water.

Heading back to Hawaii this past winter, I wanted to bring a quiver of boards geared primarily for surfing the other 90% of the time…the mediocre days and the novelty spots that broke 50 yards down from the main peak. I wanted boards that would keep me excited during all the sessions where in the past I’d be tempted not to paddle out. So I packed my bags with a quiver of boards that were all under 5’10″ and each a little peculiar.

The morning I touched down in the Islands I got the call from a lifeguard friend that country was “flat.” Knowing what “flat” means in Hawaii, I threw the new 5’10″ quad shaped by Josh Oldenburg into the truck and headed down to Ehukai Beach Park. At first glance, the board seemed to be a bigger, thicker and wider version of The Essex. It had a pretty wide tail block, a relatively flat rocker and a beaked out nose. The main difference, aside from the beautiful glasswork, was that this board looked to have a little more contour in the outline.

I paddled out and drifted in between Pipeline and Off The Wall, in playful 1-2 foot surf. One of my favorite things about this board was how well it paddled. Despite being only 5’10″, it paddled like it was a 6’6″ step-up shortboard. The paddle power was crucial because any spastic movements on this rig would kick the tail out, resulting in disaster. The heavy volume allowed me to get into waves early and really take my time navigating through and around sections.

Throughout my multiple sessions that day, I found myself naturally riding a little further up on the board. It might have been because of the amount of foam under my front foot, but I found it most comfortable for setting a high line and navigating through the occasional tube.

During this session, I often found myself surfing with the training wheels on…avoiding any critical section looking only for an open face to glide through. At the end of the day, I realized that even at only head high, this board would have been better suited in softer, smaller surf. And it really wasn’t until riding it a few more times in Eastside knee-high slop that I really began to appreciate its prowess.

The northwest swell was rising and over the course of two sets, the lineup transformed from a tribe of happy campers to a ferocious pack of wolves. That’s when I knew it was time for me to head in.

If you’d like to get in touch with Josh about ordering or demoing a board email him at –


The opinions and views expressed in this column should not be taken too seriously. Kahana is in no way a certified surf coach or an expert on surf by any means. He does not live at the beach and he falls on more waves than he makes. We highly encourage you to demo a board for yourself and form your own opinion.


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