Study Hull is an ongoing photo-journal blog series with Maker Kahana Kalamaas 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
Some of my first memories of the beach were painful ones. Whether it was catching cracks from my older brother or traumatizing stings from the overabundant population of Portuguese man-o-war, I knew that once at the beach there was no easy way out. All through my childhood, my mom would load up our VW bus and haul our entire family and group of friends down to Kailua shorebreak. While we would surf, she would walk the entire stretch from Lanikai to Castle Point and I knew that we weren’t leaving until she was ready. Needless to say, we spent a lot of time on the sand and this was how I was introduced to the beach… Any excursion to the coast was an all day affair.
Like most surfers today, I’m obsessed with the early surf photography of Leroy Grannis, Jeff Divine, and Ron Church. However, the frames that most grab my attention aren’t necessarily the photos of surfing, it’s the photos of groups of people hanging out on the beach. It’s pictures like those that helped immortalize a time period when early surf culture was really being formed… back when surfing was more a lifestyle than a sport and beach days were an opportunity to acknowledge the present and appreciate your surroundings and the people that you get to experience them with.
I realize this is not necessarily the case for most surfers today. At times, the process of surfing turns into an efficiency game with the goal of getting from our homes, into the lineup and back to work or the comfort of our computer screen, all within a two-hour window. It’s as though the sand occupying the space between the carpark and the ocean’s edge has been belittled to a mere obstruction getting in the way of our time in the water.
I’m not trying to knock responsibility. As a business owner and new father I completely understand the value of time and the necessity of hard work. Not everyone can live out of a van, and to be honest I tend to be a little more inspired by those that don’t. However, as we attempt to carve out a life that balances a passionate approach to personal and professional prosperity, I do think we might benefit from a little time in the sand and an entire day spent at the beach.
The Kookbox Hollowpoint shaped by Jeff McCallum is not your everyday board. It isn’t a board that will maximize your 45-minute surf window. It’s more like a day at the beach… actually it’s like multiple days at the beach. In the six months that this board has been in my possession, I’ve really only been able to ride it a handful of times. For it to really work the way it’s supposed to, it requires some pretty solid surf and a lot of patience.
This was the board I was most excited to test out when I went back to Hawaii this past winter and after one session my enthusiasm only grew. At only 5’10″ this odd-looking single fin was more than comfortable in well overhead surf. The super pinned-out tail cuts the ocean surface and allows the single fin to grip where most thrusters would usually slide out. I found myself getting into waves early, fading deep, and creeping down with an almost parallel stance and cranking tight little claustrophobic bottom turns. More often than not, it would slingshot me right into the hollow spot of the pocket where I could inch my way up to the front two-thirds of the board for a fun little cheater 5-tube.
In any case, the Hollowpoint fared extremely well in solid Hawaiian surf. And although it might sit dry in the back room of Aloha Sunday for a while, I do know what board to reach for when the swell comes up and I’ve got a complete day to spend at the beach, experiencing the surfing the way I enjoy it most.
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.