Olaian 900 5’4 foam surfboard review – our experience with this Decathlon soft top

How is the performance of this Decathlon soft board? We put the Olaian 900 foam 5’4 to the test.

– A bouncy, skatey shore break freak machine – not for newbies

Olaian Beater soft top foam surfboard reviewThe Olaian 900 5’4 foam surf board is a mini simmons or beater performance foamie. I see it as a statement by Decathlon saying: see, we cater to the high performance surfer as well! It follows a trend in surfing, that of the ultra short foam boards for shore breaks and wedgy waves. Almost all foam surfboard makers have one such model in their product range. It’s very manouvrable – almost too much so! The 900 foam board is designed by Hendaye-based shaper Jeremy Smith and is manufactured in Taiwan.

Volume (l): 44
Weight (kg) :
Dimensions (inches) :5’4″ X 22″ 1/2 X 3″ 1/4
Dimensions (cm): 164 x 58,2 x 8,2

44 liters is quite a lot of volume for a ultra small board. The Olaian team really managed to stack a lot of foam in a tiny board. For comparison, the 6′ (that is 20 cm longer, has only 2 liters more).

The board looks really slick. The bottom sheet is dimpled, like a golf ball. This is supposed to make the board get less traction in the water. The black top deck looks sharp and has two advantages:

  1.  it’s really easy to spot in the lineup. The majority of surfers still has white boards. Your buddies (or your photographer!) can spot you easily…
  2. the wax coat doesn’t get stale. On white and colored boards the white wax will get brownish, because of your wetsuit rubbing it or the sand sticking on it.

Our experience surfing the Olaian 900 5’4 twin fin

We put the Olaian 5’4 mini foamie to the test. We’ve surfed the mini softie in different types of conditions, we can say that it’s an interesting board for advanced surfers. I usually ride boards bigger than 5’8. With this board I noticed that the take-off is truly different. The kick of the waves comes a millisecond later. You really have to learn to paddle a bit longer and do the pop up later than you normally would. The first day on the 5’4 I paddled for a nice steep wave and thought I couldn’t catch it. I stopped paddling, only to realize that I could have caught the wave if I had waited a second longer! The push of the wave just arrives later than you’d expect.

olaian 5'4 surfboard
Taking the 5’4 out for a swim

Once you’re on the board it turns so quickly. It’s easy to generate speed and it performs well in different types of waves. In bigger waves the board gets a little shaky, though. Maybe this is because of the high-tech dimples? For waves under 1,5 meter the board is incredibly fun – especially if you know that it’s only €170! Great little travel board. 

We haven’t tried this yet, but we’ve heard that the board is really fun to surf finless.

The board isn’t in stock at all Decathlons (it wasn’t here in the Netherlands) so we ordered it online. It was delivered at my house really quick. It really felt like a present when the delivery guy handed me the cardboard box. For prices and availability you can check here www.decathlon.com/olaian54. Oh and the shop has a really good aftersales support – which I liked.

Olaian 6’0 negative experiences

We’ve heard from multiple owners that the tailpad of the Olaian 900 5’4 comes off after a while. Sure, you can glue it back on, but it’s something that Olaian needs to pay attention to.

Also we’ve noticed that the board is really slippery the first few sessions. You need to wax the board properly, almost the whole top surface.

But, all in all, it’s a great extension on your quiver at an incredibly attractive price.

See the full Decathlon Olaian soft top range here:

Olaian Foam surfboard review


You can share this post, sure!


  1. Have one of these, mine takes water in from the finboxes and then when it gets a little warmer starts pushing it through the deck, and the finboxes. Life span for me with very irregular surfing is 1 year max. The board delaminated(yup, possible for a foamie) and is now 30% more flexible than when bought, still was a disappointment how much it flexed even as new.

    Other than that, as the review says, super fun to ride. I’m looking to get an epoxy copy of this shape.

    1. Hi Mitko! Thanks for sharing. You’re not the first one that we hear it from… On our board the tailpad started coming off after no more than 10 sessions. I also feel that the board has gotten a bit heavier than when we just got it. I hope that Decathlon starts investing a bit more in the durability of the boards!

  2. I have ordered the Olian 5’4” with the intention of using it as a knee board. I am 60 years old and can’t pop up like like I use to. I still like the idea of riding a short board so kneeboarding a little foamie is a good compromise. I am waiting for one of the foam board companies to design a foam knee board.

    1. Hi Michael! We’re curious to how it’ll work for you! How nice that you’re 60 and still in the water. We’re currently in Peniche, Portugal. Yesterday in the water at Lagide I talked to another surfer, he was also 60. It makes me so happy to see these men and women still enjoying the ocean. You guys set a great example.

      1. The 5’4″ Olian works really well as a kneeboard. I was suprised by how much float it had and how well it paddles. It has quite refined rails and I think this is achieved by making the board into a step deck design. It doesn’t look chunky despite its 44 litre volume. Initially I surfed it with flippers but found that it catches waves so easily it doesn’t need this extra push. I surfed it with the original soft edged fins but I am sure it’s performance would be improved with a pair of FCS twin fins. The only improvement that could be made would be to use a thicker skin to wrap around the foam. It seems far to easy to tear it during everyday use. My final thoughts are; imagine what you could do with an oversized boogie board that you can paddle without flippers – bellyboard it, kneel on it or stand up. It is the most interesting way to design a softboard I have, yet, come across.

Leave a Reply