Sizes Available: 5’4”, 5’6”, 5’8”, 5’10”, 6’0”
Sizes Tested: 5’8” x 18.5” x 2.25”
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.
Our love affair with the Shrike continues as the evolution of material science and shape coalesce into a high-performance stick that feels exactly how a surfboard should feel, but with the durability that kitesurfing demands. In an unassuming metal Quonset hut in downtown Ventura, FCD hand shapes the Shrike with obsessive attention to every detail and the result is a custom-styled board that is nothing short of glorious in the water and on the waves.
Design and Features
The lines of the Shrike scream performance surfboard with its longer template, medium width squash tail and solid rocker. Instead of EPS or PU standard materials, FCD uses Marko composite ‘iFoam’ for chop-dampening control and maintaining flex. Because the iFoam is capable of compressing without snapping, it works with FCD’s glass layup to find the perfect match between flex and durability. The Shrike also has FCD’s power rods along the rails featuring a carbon rope that runs along both rails from tip to fin boxes. With the combination of the power rods and the use of deck reinforcements, the Shrike remains durable while still feeling flickable and light with just the right amount of flex. The Shrike comes with a 5-box setup for thruster or quad configuration. We outfitted the squash tail with Bureo’s NetPlus Alpha F6 Future fins (made out of recycled fishing nets and carbon fiber) in a quad configuration.
Now that the FCD lineup includes not only the cutoff Blunt board but also the Kite Boar, there’s some hard choices to be made during the common grovel kitesurf session, but when you are staring at a chest to head plus high reeler, the choice is very clear; the Shrike is the surgical tool for the job with its impeccable efficiency and rail control. With its positive grip, single concave and easy-to-use squash tail, the Shrike is built to link hard carving bottom turns into powerful vertical lipconnections while giving you the confidence to square up with consequential walls and quickly reengage for the next move. The Shrike balances speed and control with its single concave bottom feeling super-efficient and quick to accelerate around sections, while the quad fins and tail are grippy with the ability to initiate turns without thinking. Surfing waves with a kite requires millisecond adaptations and adjustments to the wave and wind, and the Shrike feels ready for anything without crossing the line into fidgety or unstable territory.
In terms of feel, the iFoam core mixes with FCD’s careful glass formula to yield a very unique feel that is both alive with flex but also durable to take the beating of kitesurfing. Equally notable, the Shrike’s construction delivers a very light and responsive board that is easy to launch aerials and strapless airs with the board’s low swing weight helping it stay with you through more advance maneuvers.
Compared to the new Kite Boar, the Shrike feels a bit more stable and locked in with slightly less reactivity. The Shrike seems like a better fit for higher speeds, bigger carves and situations where the snap in the lip requires more control to deal with bigger consequences. 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. On those garbage days, the Kite Boar takes the cake, but if we had access to periodic good quality waves and could only have one board – the Shrike would be our choice to optimize our high-quality sessions and follow as a runner up in the smaller stuff, but just versatile enough to keep us happy.
With its roots in custom surfboard shaping, FCD takes a craftsmanship approach to board building that is apparent in every detail of the Shrike’s shape. With a hyper-focus on feel and performance, the Shrike will not disappoint riders who want to push their limits in terms of speed and control in higher quality waves.
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