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Editorial

WKND Skateboards Interview

WKND Skateboards Interview
Posted by Neil Chester6 min read
Monday, March 16, 2020

To introduce the new Spring 2020 WKND line, we dropped by their warehouse in sunny Glendale, Los Angeles and caught up with the chief officer of the ship, Grant Yansura.

Upon finding Johan Stuckey pulling his weight packing boxes, a doll hanging by its throat, and a general array of objects which perfectly illustrate the brands' character - we felt obliged to document it. Presenting it to you here alongside Grant’s words.

Read on to learn about Grant’s masterplan for WKND. A plan he constructs daily alongside pro rider, and sales maestro, Trevor Thompson.

1. WKND Skateboards interview and behind the scenes warehouse visit. Trever Thompson warmly welcomes us in.

For anyone that doesn’t know WKND how would you describe yourselves in 5 words? 

Hot, strong, sensitive, bold and rich.

From the get go, your vibe has been around having fun, from the Koston pro board to the various 80s references, is this just a reflection of your personalities and what you're into, rather than any conscious design or brand direction?

I think it’s unintentional, I honestly always try to be serious at first but it’s too hard to do this whole skateboarding thing with a straight face.

Your philosophy around picking the team is rad. Friends and people from your crew coming up, rather than trying to grab some big names...

Yeah, let’s call it a philosophy! Our team just happened to be my crew even before we started a company. Our newest AM is Zac Gracie who we raised from the skatepark in Florida. I’ve watched him grow from a 9 year old with Kr3w pants and puffy shoes to a young gentleman with shitty facial hair and jorts. Some happen to be bigger names that naturally came into the crew. We’ve got 30+ year old AM’s and 2 Olympic hopefuls, it’s all a part of my philosophy.

2. WKND Skateboards interview and behind the scenes warehouse visit. WKND pro Johan Stuckey gets stuck in. WKND pro and part-time warehouse boy, Johan Stuckey gets stuck in.
3. WKND Skateboards interview and behind the scenes warehouse visit. Fakie Shuv, falie manny. What a to-do list!

It’s crazy cause there are a lot of amazing skaters, some big names even, with no proper board sponsor?  

Right? Hit me up! Bigger names definitely don’t need a board sponsor these days. At the same time, I think the tradition of your identity coming from your board sponsor and your house coming from your shoe sponsor shouldn’t die. I guess instagram allows people to have their own identity now. How annoying…

"Maybe we’re not as cutty as we think"

This approach is mirrored in your videos, you’re finding new and lesser seen skate spots in LA. Not rinsing out the famous stuff. This is damn hard in this town? 

Lately it feels like we’re creating famous skate spots, it’s part of it though. I just saw a Primitive ad on a spot we hooked up. If the Rod Father’s crew is getting down on them maybe we’re not as cutty as we think we are. I like the challenge of trying to find untouched shit in a overpopulated skate city. 

Talking about the industry for a second, how do you see the current landscape? It’s tough for board companies with the small margin available, you need a strong clothing line. Also with footwear brands being key to riders making a good living, throw in a huge array of clothing brands that are out there and it must be tough to survive?

Which is why our clothing is fresh as hell! I’m not old enough to know business during any other time in this industry, but it is confusing to me that it seems like there are more people skating than ever and most pro’s have to have a 2nd source of income. I guess it’s just over saturated. I feel like there aren’t that many clothing brands though? They’re all technically hardware companies or just another board company. Right? 

4. WKND Skateboards interview and behind the scenes warehouse visit. Grant Yansura. WKND CEO Grant Yansura takes a break from N64 to take a stressful call from a rider about how he can't film this weekend.
5. WKND Skateboards interview and behind the scenes warehouse visit. Grant Yansura.  (1) Trever pops out of this office to report record sales numbers.

So will we see more from your clothing line? Cut and Sew pieces alongside all the rad stuff you’ve done already?

Definitely, we’re always trying to grow our clothing. It’s a bit disturbing how concerned our team is with their outfits. This allows for a lot of opinions to come into play when we’re making a new line. It can get annoying with so many requests flying around the office, but in the end it benefits us that our team actually backs the stuff we’re making. 

The hard part is making something dope but also ensuring it’s affordable for your everyday skater. I don’t blame some skaters for thinking a cut and sew piece is too pricey. It’s not for everyone. If they’re not into it they might want to pick up a printable tee that is more affordable. If the tee is too much and they want to sharpie a square logo on a blank white, I’m down! 

Given there's so many brands out there, all making noise, how do you guys plot your way and decide what you should do? Weekly strategy meetings or things just happens when you have ideas?

I’m not naturally a meeting guy. Every year I say we’re going to do weekly meetings and I’m slowly getting better. Those aren’t strategy meetings, it’s just the 3 of us in the office making sure shit is getting done on time. Most of our ideas come up when we’re out skating. 

6. WKND Skateboards interview and behind the scenes warehouse visit. WKND graphics Classic WKND graphics and of course the warehouse has a guard dog.

You’ve also got Hyperion Distribution through your warehouse. Carrying Pass~Port and Butter Goods, two top Australian brands. Is this to maximise your warehouse space or more of a necessity to widen the business so that you can keep the fun going with WKND? 

We also carry Frog Skateboards. Your questions make it seem like I’m smart and plot things out! Pass~Port and Butter were at some distributor here in the USA that wasn’t paying them and doing a piss poor job at getting their brands in skate shops. I’m friends with Trent at Pass~Port so he reached out with the idea of us taking them and Butter on in the USA. From there we got a warehouse and started Hyperion Distribution. Frog came on later. The distribution has really been working out for us. It helps keep the cash flow during months when WKND is in between seasons.

"We should have one of those strategy meetings"

What can we expect to see coming from WKND as we move into the 20s? Your new SS20 line is looking sharp?

Hey thanks! Well, we already started filming again. We’ll gather these clips and put some parts out at the end of the year. Maybe we’ll do some skits between then? Wait, did you mean product wise? I’m not good at this. Maybe we should have one of those strategy meetings.

8. WKND Skateboards interview and behind the scenes warehouse visit. Grant Instagram Grant checks Instagram whilst the real work happens all around him.
7. WKND Skateboards interview and behind the scenes warehouse visit. Johan Stuckey pro boards Johan skives off from packing boxes to show us some of his favourite boards.

As we can see, Johan Stuckey was recently working in the warehouse, how did he pan out? Are you getting him in full-time, or is he best sticking to skating? 

Haha, no the streets need him. We just bring him in when things are busy and we need extra warehouse help. He worked at the old HUF warehouse so he’s good. He’s getting really good at counting high.

Lastly, I used to joke with Dan Magee that nobody has ever used an REM track in a skate video, not sure whether that's a good or bad thing, but… do you have any musical guilty pleasures that you’d love to run in a WKND clip but not sure you could get away with?  

Do you know how many times I’ve started an edit to Sublime? Then I’m reminded that not everyone hears Sublime how I do. I actually just pulled the trigger and used Sublime on a part of myself recently, but I wouldn’t count that as an actual edit. No one has used R.E.M.? Gordo is on it. Tell Magee I said whaddup!

9. WKND Skateboards interview and behind the scenes warehouse visit. The WKND van That van.

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