In the range overview on the Fanatic website the Hawk is billed as a ‘freecarve’ and detailed as having more freewave / freestyle characteristics than the Eagle. This would certainly be true if comparing the 123 Hawk to the considerably wider 126 Eagle but our finding was that the Eagle 113 of the same width (tested) carves better and feels a tiny bit more chuckabout, but they are basically quite similar in design and performance with only minor differences separating them.
Type: Performance biased freeride.
On the water:
The Hawk weighs less than any other board on test and is billed as having some slalom capability. However, it is more conventionally freeride than other more performance biased designs, being a bit longer overall, having a higher nose lift and lacking a particularly wide tail or tail cut-outs. This means that it is a fraction slower than the more dedicated performance designs, but easier and more conventional to sail – particularly when overpowered – and easier and more fun to manoeuvre. It is pretty easy to sail but still quite exciting for a 123L board, grippy and directional but feeling fast and alive. Early planing and acceleration is good (on a par with the Eagle) while top speed may be just slightly better. The sailing position with good deck dome is very comfortable. Gybing performance is good although the tail is fairly chunky and can’t be pushed as hard as the lower volume boards.
Fittings: Good. The pads and straps are very comfortable and the 38cm G10 fin works well. The construction is super-light and consequently needs to be cared for.
The Hawk is sandwiched between the performance freerides on the one hand that do go a little bit faster, and the very strong group of all-round, manoeuvre biased freerides on the other that feel just a shade smaller and more throwabout while only sacrificing negligible amounts of performance. This gives it tough competition but it is a very good board that fulfils its role well. It will take up to 8.0m quite easily and handle down to 5.5m in flat water and will best suit later intermediate to advanced sailors of between 75 and 95kg. We would recommend it to reasonably advanced intermediates who are beyond the frequent catapult stage wanting a light responsive and performance oriented board that still carves and handles easily.