Sizes Available: 5’4″, 5’6″, 5’8″, 5’10”, 6’0″
Sizes Tested: 5’6 x 17 1/16x 2 1/8 – 22.7L
The Shrike is all about high performance “surfing with a kite.” It will allow you to snap tightly in the pocket or go way beyond vertical and fin-free. It will square off the bottom tightly and with enough speed to fit twice the full-power-turns into a normal section – which allows you to keep tension on your lines and drift your kite. The Shrike works great as a daily driver but really comes alive in bigger, more powered conditions. FCD lays the Shrike up with extra glass for durability but still maintains true surfboard weight and flex.
Visit for more info: www.fcdsurfboards.com/shrike
The first time we rode the Shrike it was like finding religion. Combining surfboard feel with materials capable of withstanding kite forces is a five-star formula, but when you mix in the Shrike’s unique blend of precision control and drive that pushes you to surf one level higher, well that’s almost worthy of some kind of award. That was a couple of years ago, and now we’ve got our hot hands on a freshly shaped Shrike that continues to push the bounds of feel and performance.
Design and Features
The Shrike that landed on our doorstep is a slightly modified shape that departs from the standard off-the-shelf Shrike equation from last year. With a little less width, thickness, and slightly less volume, this new Shrike continues to define high-end surfing in the kite world. In addition to the new dimensions, the Shrike features a routed epoxy stringer along the underside of the rails that phases out the carbon strip that was used in previous models. The Shrike comes with a 5-box setup for thruster or quad configuration and features a squash tail with a simple bottom shape that uses a subtle concave from the nose through the tail.
Geared up with Patagonia F6 fins, the Shrike delivers a good amount of grip that allows you to crank up the speed, intensity and pull no stops when you square up to the lip. There’s something about the narrower width and lower volume that seems to make this Shrike feel a little more connected to the water, perhaps a little more surgical in the way it would lay up to a lip and slice through the top. Since the 5’6” still had plenty of glide and drive, shaving off some volume seemed to enhance the connection between the board and the wave without any compromises.
The Shrike in its thruster configuration is the perfect weapon for high-quality waves. With its positive grip, single concave and easy-to-use squash tail, the Shrike offers impeccable control for connecting hard carving bottom turns into powerful vertical lip connections. It does this with such great reliability, that despite the uncertainties of the wind or the speed of the wave, you can drive down the line and make multiple connections with consistency. With the super positive grip, you can hold hard lines but it’s also easy to break loose in the lip with some extra back foot pressure. The hull handles a ton of speed and accelerates efficiently in the wave, but also slices upwind without needing a ton of power in the kite or experiencing rail chatter. It’s worth mentioning that more advanced riders will see some cosmetic heel denting on the deck, but having pounded on these boards for a couple of years, they are as durable as you can get while still keeping their live surfboard feeling. While we would choose the Shrike for high-quality waves, this board is also fun on the garbage days. The Shrike is fun for aerials and floaters, with tons of control and easy turn initiation to make the best of small and uninspiring surf.
The Shrike we tested once again pushes the boundaries with its classic surfboard feel and impeccable control. There’s a lot of marketing hype that surrounds kiteboards, but the craftsman approach you will find in the FCD boards focuses on both feel and performance that is ideal for those coming to kitesurfing from the surf world.
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