The announcement has been official since the beginning of this week (see our article of 4th September 2023), the Boards & More Group will separate from the Fanatic brand. All windsurfing products will now carry the Duotone colours. In a 3-part interview, Craig Gertenbach, who has been with Fanatic for almost 3 decades, looks back on what the brand has meant to him over the years...
Windsurfjournal.com: Can you tell us when and how the Fanatic brand came into being?
Craig Gertenbach: Fanatic was born in 1981, created by Udo Schutz, an Industrialist, who was also a competitive sailor and Porsche tester, in his company close to Frankfurt. They built the boards in Germany, using some very innovative automative steps and materials, quite far ahead of the time. Fanatic/ART grew quickly to be one of the biggest brands in the sport.
WJ: What are Fanatic's key dates up to its 40th anniversary in 2021?
CG: There were many including being one of the first brands to produce Semi Custom boards at Cobra, the use of Honeycomb materials and many legendary shapes which have endured – Skate, Rat, Mamba, Mosquito, Boa, Bee, Shark, Eagle, FreeWave, Falcon to name just a few. Many World Titles in Waves, Freestyle or Racing with riders such as Nik Baker, Francisco Goya, Pierre and Marion Mortefon, Gollito Estredo, Victor Fernandez, Nathalie Lelièvre, Erik Thiémé, Pascal Maka and many more have been part of the Fanatic family and legend.
WJ: As Brand Manager, what will be Fanatic's greatest moment for you and why?
CG: I would say the most proud moment is that we managed to keep improving the brand and it’s image, over many years, with the same consistent approach and the same team, not chopping and changing our approach – many of the key staff like myself have spent their entire careers at Fanatic – myself 28yrs, our shaper Sebastian Wenzel close to 30yrs, our Marketing team of Klaas Voget and my wife Karin more than 20yrs each, Daniel Aeberli our Product Manager also very long and some team riders like Gollito, Victor, Pierre etc, with very long ties to the company, also beyond their professional careers -this is far more important than winning any tests or World titles, as this experience has a much higher value and is priceless, both in the value to company, but also in shared moments.
Source: Craig Gertenbach
Photos: Duotone/John Carter - Duotone/Fish Bowl Diaries