From the ground up.
The pointbreaks of Southern California have always been fertile ground for progressive surfboard design. Growing up in the lineups of Ventura County, Fletcher Chouinard started shaping for a simple reason: So he could build the boards he wanted to ride. Twenty years later, we still build each board as if it were our own.
Shed to shred.
Forty years ago it was hammers and steel; now it’s planers and foam. Founded in a former auto repair shop across the street from the Tin Shed where Chouinard pitons were forged, FCD continues a long lineage of functional, hands-on design. Our first building was an ideal place to carve out boards and experiment with stringers, foam and resin, and it now houses our glassing and sanding bays. With waves a few blocks away, we still close the doors whenever the waves are firing to go put new shapes to the test.
When we started making surfboards in 1996, our goal was to find stronger, safer and less toxic materials without sacrificing performance. Along with a group of friends who all surfed and shaped, the crew proceeded to lay up and destroy hundreds of test panels in search of a less harmful way of building boards. The material they settled on was a type of extruded polystyrene, which we’ve been using to make our blanks since 1999. It has a consistent density and is extremely light, giving FCD boards excellent flex and strength in the water. And with no VOC emissions, it’s easier on the environment than conventional surfboard foam.
True to our roots.
After 20 years in business, we’re proud to be making some of the lightest and strongest boards in the world. They’re ridden in everything from lunchtime sessions at our home points to giant surf in Hawai’i, the South Pacific and beyond. We still do everything right here in Ventura, half a block from where we first started out. Though our circle of shapers and test riders has expanded, our company is small, our crew tight and our focus unchanged: To build the best boards we possibly can, and to give surfers the tools they need to ride the best waves of their lives.