For 20+ years, FCD has been building durable, long-lasting, high performance surfboards with a relentless eye on craftsmanship and material innovation. As one of the earliest surfers to dive head first down the rabbit hole of traction kites, FCD’s founder Fletcher Chouinard has been steadily innovating kitesurfing boards since the sport’s beginning. Athlete and brand ambassador, Jason Slezak fills us in on the latest board developments at FCD this year.
For 2022, we at FCD are continuing our mission of making quality surf craft for surf, kitesurf and a variety of foil disciplines with our small, tightknit family of passionate and dedicated humans. It has long been the goal of Fletch to build durable and robust boards that would outlast the lifespan of many of the other custom boards out there, without sacrificing performance or the quality of the end-user experience in any way. Our global team of surf, kitesurf and foil ambassadors provide feedback and put the boards through rigorous testing—spending time at their local spots, as many more have done in this past year-and-a-half, or traveling abroad as reductions in travel restrictions allow.
FCD has always been known for its innovative approach to materials and its constant search for uncompromising performance and feel. What are the most recent changes to construction practices in this year’s line of boards?
The FCD team is constantly striving to create truly handmade boards with the best possible performance and feel, while also providing the durability that is needed to handle the stresses and constant impact that the sport of kitesurfing puts on a custom board. For 2022, we have focused on refining our reinforcement areas to address the zones of our boards we have seen the most consistent wear in the recent past. Rather than just fully blanketing our kitesurf boards with extra layers of glass, we have worked directly with our skilled and knowledgeable glass shop staff to come up with a high-performance combination of overall top deck and bottom glass layup with added stringer, rail and fin box reinforcements to provide the longevity and lifespan that keeps FCD boards under your feet, on the water and out of the landfill.
The Shrike has been one of our review team’s favorite performance-oriented surfboards, but now FCD is offering the Boar model. How does the Boar model compare to the Shrike and how should riders choose between the two boards?
The FCD Shrike is not only TKB review team’s favorite performance kitesurf board, it’s also a FCD team favorite. It’s safe to say that most, if not all, of our crew has a Shrike in their quiver and it is their go to when the conditions are firing. However, as any kitesurfer knows, the swell is not always lined up and pumping, therefore we set out to find that magic board for when the wind is on, but the swell might only be average… and let’s be honest here… that is more often than not when you are kitesurfing. The Kite Boar was born directly out of one of FCD’s “Swiss Army Knife” surfboards, the Wild Boar, which is a great do it all board for performance surfing in a variety of conditions. The Kite Boar came about honestly and accidentally from a few smaller Wild Boar’s that were first made as surfboards, and eventually were ridden while kitesurfing. Once word spread through our kite team, we all gave it a go, and the Kite Boar started to take shape. With its slightly rounder outline, wider tail and flatter rocker, the Kite Boar is a perfect complement to the Shrike for when you want to go out and absolutely obliterate small to mid-sized wind swell or the short period broken up swell that is most commonly associated with windy conditions when a true, solid groundswell is not present. We think that both boards have a solid place in any kitesurfer’s quiver. If you had to choose between the two, we would direct a kiter towards the Shrike when they want a board that will hold all the speed you can throw at it, lock into turns when in more lined up and down the line conditions, for chasing barrels and in the pocket shredding in sideshore to side-off winds. On the other hand, we would direct someone towards the Kite Boar if they are more commonly riding any sort of chunky, peaky, broken up windswell, or smaller to mid-range swell. The Kite Boar will help you maximize your line choices with a loose and playful feel, while surfing at the speed of the wave, rather than relying on the speed of the kite in sideshore to side-on winds.
The Blunt has been a longstanding feature of the FCD lineup. What are the precise conditions and styles of riding targeted by this board?
The FCD Blunt has been a staple board in our kitesurf lineup for many years now. Though it has had some subtle changes over its lifespan, its general shape and purpose has remained the same. The Blunt is made for kiting. With its straighter rail outline, blunted nose, channeled bottom and lower rocker, it is the freeride kitesurfers one board to do it all. Small wave slashing, strapless airs, spins, shove-its, etc., the Blunt can handle it all. The wide nose and tail combined with the straighter rail outline allows for early planning, upwind efficiency and forgiveness. Whether you want to ride a strapless style kitesurf board for the first time or take your air game and kitesurf board freeriding and wave slashing to the next level, the FCD Blunt is a great add to the quiver.