Fanatic Windsurfing joins duotone
The Boards & More Group is the world market leader in the water sports segments of Kiteboarding, Windsurfing and Wing Foiling. The Austrian group already caused a stir in 2018 when it decided to distribute Kiteboarding products under the new Duotone brand.
Now Boards & More has announced that it will continue to distribute Fanatic products from the Windsurf and Wing Foil sector under the Duotone brand name in the future.
So what's going on?
A conversation with Till Eberle, CEO of Boards & More, Craig Gertenbach, previously Brand Manager Fanatic, Raoul Joa, Division Manager Windsurf and Klaas Voget, Division Manager Product & Marketing Wing Foiling.
Till the first question goes to you: Will Boards & More discontinue the Fanatic brand?
Till: "With Fanatic and Duotone, we have two powerful brands at Boards & More that occupy very similar positions. Fanatic has a heritage of over 40 years. We grew up with Fanatic and we made Fanatic great. But since we founded the new Duotone brand for our Kiteboarding products in 2018, this brand has achieved incredible strength, competence and acceptance among our customers. Duotone already covers a large part of the water sports world, from Kiteboarding to Windsurfing sails and wings for Wing Foiling. Duotone brings together a huge amount of expertise. That's why we have decided to offer the products from the performance sector, which were previously under Fanatic, under the Duotone brand name going forward in the future, i.e. Windsurf boards, Wing Foiling boards and foils. The logical sequence is that we are phasing out Fanatic in the Windsurf and Wing Foil segment over the next six months. In the commercial SUP (Stand-Up Paddling) sector, the Fanatic brand will remain. We are focusing fully on this segment with Fanatic and will continue to offer appropriate products to a much broader target group here under the Fanatic name."
Synergy is always a nice buzzword. But how do you bring this to life at Boards & More
Till: "In development, we no longer work in individual sports silos anyway, we cross over. We were only able to establish Wing Foiling so successfully at Boards & More in such a short time because of the competent input that came from all our sports divisions. Ken Winner, the Duotone designer, who incidentally was also instrumental in the development of shortboards in Windsurfing, now develops the wings. Klaas, who tests the Windsurf wave boards, is now head of Wing Foil development. Our D/LAB and SLS series with the innovative materials from the Kite Division flow into wings and windsurf sails. Synergies in the development of different sports actually take the products for our customers a lot further.Together we are simply stronger. That has always counted at Boards & More. Without Windsurfing sales, our origin over 30 years ago, Kiting would never have had such great success. Wing Foiling as a new sport, on the other hand, could never have developed so dynamically without the resources of Kiting. This family of sports brands is so strong because we have a common platform with the Boards & More Group. Developers, importers, dealers as well as employees in Molln and Oberhaching – decades of experience and continuity is the cornerstone for innovation, quality and service."
Craig: "By co-inventing the new sport of Wing Foiling, our sport structure became intermingled. Wing Foiling built a bridge between Kitesurfing and Windsurfing, because part of the development came from each sport, so athletes from both areas discovered Wing Foiling for themselves. Suddenly the whole thing becomes blurred. Everyone is open-minded, which is highly exciting and lowers barriers. Here in our company alone, you see how
many people are now doing all the sports. This is another reason why we use teams cross-matrix. Those who are good in a subject area should do just that. It is much more efficient and consistent to do this under one brand. From now on, everything in Wing Foiling and Windsurfing will also come from one source, as we have already established very successfully with Duotone Kiteboarding."
Raoul: "Something else, too: In Kiteboarding, there is no separation of brands between boards and kites. In Windsurfing, on the other hand, there have traditionally always been board brands and sail brands. But that's an outdated approach. It doesn't result in an advantage for customers. Many of our customers practice Windsurfing and Wing Foiling or Kiteboarding and Wing Foiling. The mindset today is much more open. Narrow-minded thinking like 'I'm only a Windsurfer or only a kiteboarder' no longer exists.”
HERITAGE & INNOVATION
We were there, when windsurfers started planing for the first time, when they discovered Ho‘okipa, Porto Pollo or the Gorge and when Olympia discovered the windsurfers. We were there, when sails got battens and later on cambers, we did experiment with 3D profiles, vario-extension or dampening systems. We did test the first footstraps or developed the harness with all its early varieties. Our Best.Fit.System shaped the way how modern rigs are considered as a whole. Or by the way, without us and the legendary King of the Lake at Lake Garda back in the Nineties there wouldn‘t be freestyle in the windsurfing world of today.
Even if our R&D headquarter is based on Maui, we are constantly connected with different windsurfers at different spots around the globe. We always take their specific demands into consideration and function rules innovation. We operate 100 % practice-oriented and with the very first prototype we have the final series product in mind. We exclusively produce at the production facility from the very first day on instead of doing prototypes at the loft. This way, once the prototype works the way we envisioned it, we already have a product ready for production
Victor may not be one of the loudest riders in the World Cup circuit but he’s one of the most consistent and most of all friendliest guys around. His list of competition results is equally impressive meanwhile. As a kid he loved to watch videos from Naish, Polakow or Dunkerbeck for hours and he envisioned himself to stand on the podium one day. Meanwhile he reached that goal multiple times. Apart from his World Cup success he is a major influencer in our team. His input is highly welcome in Kai Hopf’s mailbox and on top of this they spend several months together on Maui every year, testing the latest gear. Victor‘s input had a huge impact on the development of the new Super Hero for example.
Pierre started his career in the Mediterreanean Sea aseat in an Optimist boat until he got into windsurfing at the age of 11. Addicted from the first moment on he learned fast and living so close to the sea in Gruissan didn’t really hurt. He is mostly famous for his racing success, but once you’ve seen him on Maui in the waves, you know that the young French is at home in every conditions.