WORDS: Stu Gomez // Photo: Jason Henry
In 2014, Grant Yansura and Raymond Molinar started WKND, a modest homegrown venture that they operated out of a small room (team rider Taylor Caruso took the honors as “god amongst boxes,” sleeping in a bedroom that was piled high with WKND boards). Three years down the road, Yansura and Molinar’s “small brand” has grown into a “small distributor” of Australian boutique skate companies, Butter Goods and Pass~Port. Hyperion Distribution—named after the storied Silver Lake thruway—is the brilliant next step for a company borne of clever ideas and humble beginnings.
When Yansura worked at The Berrics as the designated comic mastermind (a role that has since been extremely hard to fill), he was known primarily for the “Weekendtage” series—regular episodic forays consisting of pitch-perfect skate montages and clever skits. Rarely did he pull any punches; anything or anyone in the skate industry was fair game. If the Cosmic Vomit videos were Yansura’s more traditional full-length projects, then “Weekendtage” was Yansura’s comic vomit. At a certain point, his wacky ideas reached critical mass and they had to come out somehow. “Now, the shit my friends and I come up with gets spit out via WKND,” Yansura says.
Yansura left The Berrics and took the role of second filmer for Nike SB, supporting former Nike SB videographer Jason Hernandez (“I was the second filmer that was skating the spot when I should have been filming roll-ups,” Yansura says), but before he split he took an extended trip to Australia in 2013 with Austyn Gillette—ostensibly to film the “WeekendtOz” episode—where he first networked with Pass~Port’s Cameron Sparkes. Later, he met Butter Goods’s Matt Evans and Garth Mariano. And, as Yansura says, “It’s been a love triangle ever since.”
It probably wouldn’t be an overstatement to say that WKND’s aesthetic has been very influential—even inspiring—to novice brands over the past few years. In a way, long before the company existed, Yansura had already established the branding: lo-fi animation and soundtracks that could double as a mixtape lovingly recorded by a high schooler in the ‘90s; Yansura knows how to put you in the mood. His creative approach is closer to that of a French New Wave auteur than simply a visionary videographer or skate entrepreneur; each WKND video could never be mistaken for anything other than a WKND production.
As Hyperion Distribution continues to build momentum (Butter Goods and Pass~Port have both released exceptional collections under the Hyperion umbrella), Yansura and company continue to focus on producing arresting videos (as disparate as “Roast of Johan Stuckey” and Alexis Sablone’s WKND pro introduction) and creating “content that has reached standards capable of being published to my mother’s Facebook,” according to Yansura. WKND is even prominently featured in the recent satirical Netflix series, “American Vandal.” (“That show looks like it’s going to be really funny, actually,” Yansura says.)
And when it’s time to take a break, you could even find his merry band of WKND warriors skating the quarterpipes and ledges in the Hyperion warehouse. “One day I hope to be proud of blunt fakies on lock,” Yansura says. “Mark my words.”