After the first part of the interview in which Craig Gertenbach looked back on the history and importance of Fanatic (see our article of 5 September 2023 https://www.windsurfjournal.com/article,news,3-questions-to-craig-gertenbach-part-1,10165,en), this time he talks about the decision to sign all products under the Duotone name...
Windsurfjournal.com: When was this decision taken and what were the main reasons for abandoning the Fanatic name?
Craig Gertenbach: We have been discussing this change for a longer period, since both Duotone and Fanatic are placed very similar in marketing terms, working in the same fields of windsurfing/winging. This made things quite inefficient, with communication, but also internally not making full use of the synergies between the 2 windsurfing or wing teams. So with this change we are confidant to bundle all our expertise into complete teams working each on windsurfing and winging, with a much more efficient use of resources and a more simple approach in all areas including R&D; Marketing, Team, Sales etc. Remembering of course that Fanatic will continue in the more commercial segment of SUP, whilst also noting that the core team of people, designers, production and sales & service structure remains unchanged.
WJ: What does this name change also mean for the reorganisation of the Boards & More team?
CG: We are now working in Divisions since a few months already, where the windsurfing team is led by Raoul Joa, with his 2 key Product Managers Marco Lang (Rigs) and Daniel Aeberli (Boards) working even closer together than before as one unit. The majority of the team remains the same, just united now in one line. Klaas Voget and myself will still consult with the windsurfing team, but they have a lot of experience already, so we will mainly be focused on the Wingfoiling Division of Duotone, which we share the Management of since 1.7.23. Overall no-one has left the company, all the experience is still there, which will guarantee that the products, service and image will be in fact even improved, by a more efficient and focused setup.
WJ: By abandoning a name that has left such an indelible mark on the history of the sport, aren't you afraid of incurring the wrath of Fanatic's long-standing fans?
CG: The first reaction of many people is of course curiosity/sadness, however as soon as they see the new products, most could hardly even tell the difference – what that means is that we have stayed very true to the Fanatic tradition, a Grip is still a Grip, a Falcon a Falcon – the shaper is the same, the Product Manager is the same. The shops where you buy the product are the same, the graphic approach is very similar, the riders are the same….the only difference on the product itself is the logo – and funnily enough, even our importers or magazines stood next to the boards at our various meetings and did not even notice it – that tells us we have transported the most valuable parts of Fanatic into Duotone, but with a boost in terms of a more unified and stronger marketing and team. Of course there will be a few people who hate change of any kind, but if they are real Fanatic fans, then they will appreciate the consistency we continue with the optics, board names, brand positioning etc. More often than not, well considered changes can be a big benefit, and we are very confident that the super positive feedback we have received so far will continue. We already had multiple Importer and Dealer meetings worldwide, showing the new Duotone windsurfing and wing products, with overwhelming positive feedback.
Source: Craig Gertenbach
Photos: Duotone/John Carter