OK, let’s straighten up things. The progressive concept & the top level marketing credits go to Joerg Rindlisbacher, still in the business of making dreams, while the shaper of those objects of desire, was non other but one of the top shapers of all times, Mr ED ANGULO.
To my understanding the weak link in this project seems to be the metal & plastics industry leader BBS, responsible for the production, but I think that reading this post you will be in a position to judge by yourself.
It was in the early/mid ’80’s, while acting as BBS sole importer of automotive products for Greece, that I became aware BBS was launching a windsurfing program with boards of incredible beauty. Being a windsurfer myself, I was greatly disappointed to hear that BBS did not want to distribute the boards through their existing automotive partners!
For Greece the representation was given to my good highschool friend Freddy Joseph, but this did not comfort me much – you see I could not foresee the fate of the TONIC brand…
The advertisements were equally attractive to the boards. but within a year or so, TONIC disappeared from the market. During my annual visit to the BBS headquarters in Schiltach loads of boards were laying in their warehouse , while the managers would change subject.
I searched in vain the net for TONIC pictures & data & then I decided to ask people who were involved with this project.
Not hoping much, I addressed myself to ED ANGULO and within a few hours – believe it or not – I got this answer:
It’s been a long time. But here is what I recall.
I was approached by the marketing guy who’s name I think was Joerg Rindlisbacher.
He wanted me to build a full product line and gave me a very small window of time to do it. I remember he had some different ideas for marketing but did have nice brochures and they appeared to spend quite a bit on advertisements.
I think they were ahead of their time with some of the construction ideas and materials, but they did not seem to have it wired when it came to execution. I think they had quality control problems and the products were not holding up.
A couple of our models scored very well in the German “Surf” test, but I think we were lucky since we never built any prototypes and we did no testing or development.
We had no team and the project seemed to fizzle pretty quick. In hind site I think they had some good components and ideas but lacked a good Production Manager, and definitely didn’t have their manufacturing set up and sorted out.
For me it was an interesting experience that I learned from. It’s too bad for BBS, I think it was a good idea at the wrong time.
Much Aloha Ed Angulo
PGA 808-357-0481 PO Box 791748 Paia, Hi, 96779 http://angulodesigns.com
I blinked my eyes again & again in disbelief.
ED ANGULO replied my e-mail in no time!
If I had to name just one shaper, the reply would automatically be Angulo. I’m amazed.
Then I read the Angulo Story on your site, so now I know: the answer is SHARING.
Thanks for the Tonic info & the Rindlisbacher hint. I think I have spotted him.
I will try to get his point and then I will post your kind message.
Ed, God bless you, Patty, Mark, Andy, Josh & everyone you care for.
Without any hesitation I send a similar request to Jörg Rindlisbacher and I got his positive response the same day:
Re: TONIC by BBS
Hello Mr. Savidis
Yes – I was the TONIC Co-Owner together with BBS.
I found a lot of TONI© pics – more than below.
Please check the quality.
If you you need all the pictures, let me know.
It is possible that you now have something to write in your on Blog.
Finally, to round things up I asked FREDDY JOSEPH to recall his experience:
Dimitri,, I remember TONICs were made in a small factory in Switzerland outside of Zurich.
When they were launched, they surely made an impact, being very impressive.
There were 5 models I think, made in two versions, a less expensive one and a hi-tech with carbon/kevlar.
The basic line was made of GRP, a material used by most manufacturers, but the look was very attractive; each model was finished throughout in a unique – eye catching color, chosen from a very modern palette.
The hi-tech series were using the carbon fiber as an additional convincing decorative element, evident across the entire surface of the board, underneath the transparent top resin layer.
They were lightweight and very rigid, very advanced marketing wise, but were flawed by their construction, which was not as it proved, adequately tested.
Most boards soon developed delamination: the resin skin layer was detaching from the core, creating hollow spots – approximately 10 x 10cm in size or bigger.
You can imagine how badly exposed I was as an exclusive importer. And the rumor spread out…
Boards were offered as a package with North Sails.
Their performance was nothing to write a home about – not very fast nor early planning boards, so they could not win races to become established.
In short, a strong conceptual and marketing effort which failed due to unreliably build boards. This resulted to closing down.
Ok that’s how it sums up, I’ll visit your site also to see!
Ο φίλος μου απο τα σχολικά χρόνια Φρέντυ Ιωσήφ, αποκλειστικός αντιπρόσωπος των TONIC στην Ελλάδα μου είπε σχετικά:
Δημήτρη, ήταν ένα εργοστασιάκι στην Ελβετία έξω από την Ζυρίχη.
Όταν πρωτοβγήκαν τα TONIC ήταν πολύ εντυπωσιακά. Έφτιαχναν νομίζω 5 μοντέλα σε δύο εκδόσεις, μια φθηνή και μια ακριβή με carbon/kevlar.
Η απλή σειρά ήταν GRP ένα υλικό που χρησιμοποιούσαν οι περισσότεροι κατασκευαστές, αλλά είχαν πετύχει πολυ την εμφάνιση τους , το κάθε μοντέλο ήταν ένα χρώμα ολόκληρη η σανίδα, σε πραγματικά πολύ μοντέρνα χρώματα για την εποχή.
Στην εξελιγμένη σειρά τα ανθρακονήματα ήταν εμφανή σε όλη την επιφάνεια της σανίδας και φυσικά από πάνω ρητίνη. Επίσης ήταν πιο άκαμπτα και αρκετά ελαφρύτερα από τον ανταγωνισμό. Πολύ προχωρημένα από απόψεως μάρκετινγκ, είχαν όμως δυστυχώς προβλήματα με την κατασκευή διότι δεν είχαν πειραματιστεί αρκετά. Μετά από λίγο καιρό, στα περισσότερα σκάφη, το κέλυφος πάθαινε αποκόλληση από το εσωτερικό και δημιουργούντο φουσκάλες περίπου 10 Χ 10cm η και μεγαλύτερες (Delamination). Σκέψου εγώ σαν αντιπρόσωπος πόσο εκτεθειμένος ήμουν. Και η φήμη κυκλοφόρησε…
Τα σκάφη έρχονταν ”κουστούμι” με πανιά της North Sails, αλλά οι επιδόσεις τους ήσαν μέτριες. Δεν ήταν πολύ γρήγορα σκάφη και πλανάριζαν δύσκολα. Έτσι δεν μπορούσαν να κερδίζουν αγώνες και να γίνουν γνωστά. Με λίγα λόγια, είχαν πετύχει σε ότι αφορούσε το κόνσεπτ και το μάρκετινγκ, αλλά δεν κατάφεραν να κατασκευάσουν αξιόπιστες σανίδες. Γι’αυτό έκλεισαν.
Αυτά τα λίγα. Θα μπω στο μπλόγκ σου να δω!
Some more digging to my brother’s archives, revealed the material below:
ANGULO WINDSURFING TODAY