Wilson Zehr wants to make it quite clear Yana Surf is not a surfboard company.
Yes, the Portland-based company makes some pretty wicked surfboards built to withstand the gnarly waves from Hawaii to Australia and California to Florida.
“Though we do make surfboards,” Wilson said, “we are building a sustainable surf lifestyle brand. We are pursuing a much more ambitious agenda and we expect to touch a much larger audience.”
As the CEO of Yana Surf in Portland, Wilson said he has become more and more interested in sustainability and what “we can do for our planet – leaving a positive legacy for generations to come.”
Yana Surf is the intersection of technology, sustainability and surf, he said.
Growing up in California, Wilson lived a mile from the beach and started surfing when he was 12 years old. His time playing in the surf, sun and sand has given him an understanding and perspective on the surf culture.
He moved to Oregon to attend college. After starting a family, he never found a reason to leave. His career portfolio includes working on seven technology start-up companies and teaching at Portland State University.
Wilson said Yana Surfboards are made from sustainable balsa wood, adding the company’s designers have been experimenting with other sustainable wood. What makes the Yana Surfboard different from other boards is it is something a surfer would design for himself and it’s made to last. All boards are made in California, Hawaii and Florida with artists and designers throughout the world.
“We are building the best quality surfboards available – and injecting an artistic influence into all our products,” he said. “We are delivering the same artistic designs and vibe for apparel and accessories. We are giving back in a meaningful way to organizations that help the planet, pets and kids.”
A Yana Surfboard ranges from $2,500 to $6,000, he said, adding, these boards are definitely for someone who appreciates surfing – the true connoisseur.
“Surfers love the boards. They love the way that they look and perform in the water. However, they really are surfable works of art,” he said.