The Soft Story Behind Wavestorm Surfboards

by The Editors on October 30, 2015

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Don’t lie. You own a soft top and so do your friends. At the beach on the weekends it seems everyone is on one. Most of these boards are coming from the same place: CostCo. Bloomberg Business has the story behind one of the biggest shifts in surfing hardgoods ever.

Since its debut in 2007, Wavestorm has become the most popular surfboard in the U.S., with about half a million sold. Novices and veterans have embraced the mass-produced soft-foam boards, which cost much less than competing products. Entry-level soft boards typically sell for around $300, and hand-shaped long boards can go for upwards of $1,000. . . Unlike just about every other surfboard brand, Wavestorm wasn’t started by a revered “shaper” (board designer) or surfer. It’s the brainchild of Matt Zilinskas, a onetime hockey player from landlocked Waterloo, Ont., and John Yeh, a Taiwanese businessman.

Zilinskas shoots straighter than anyone in the surf industry when he explains his business model:

“We don’t want to mess around collecting money from little surf shops and sporting goods stores. Margins are slim at Costco, but we pump out volume and get paid on time.”

Yep, it’s apparently the future of board sporting. And, the boards are popular for similar reasons: they’re cheap, fun, indestructible, and most importantly, a great excuse for sucking at surfing. Seriously, who expects you to rip on one of those foam boats?

[Link: Bloomberg Business]

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