Behind Craig's business

As part of the Xero #behindyourbusiness series, we got to know Craig, the passionate co-founder behind York Surf.

Craig Paul, co-founder of York Surf in Cape Town, in front of some of his surfboards.

Yesterday, today

Craig’s earliest memory is surfing with his Dad at Long Beach. Craig recalls, “He had made me a new surfboard which was amazing and I didn’t want to get it wet. So I wasn’t sure I’d grasped surfing at that stage, but I’ve got a handle on it now.”

That’s an understatement. York Surf, co-founded by Craig and Jake, crafts beautiful surfboards using traditional techniques. They call them “rideable pieces of art”.

Faithfulness to that artisanal heritage is embodied in York Surf’s motto: “Yesterday, today.”

Craig explains, “What we do at York Surf is we produce high-quality surfboards, trying to use yesterday’s ethos in surfboard building with a hint of today’s modern technologies.”

One board at a time, their dream is to add to the legacy of the surfers who went before them. People like Craig’s biggest inspiration, his Dad.

“We’ve had a family business for a long time, he’s taught me most of what I know in business and he’s a very talented surfer… He’s 67 this year, and still surfing pretty much as well as most of the groms.”

“We’re passionate about surfing… we want to make amazing products. What our customers love most about York is the fact that it’s a hands-on, well-produced product… hopefully they feel the love in the product.”

– Craig Paul, York Surf

Passing on the passion

Now a father himself, Craig wants to leave the world, and Muizenberg, as he found it: “I think we should all try to leave as little mark as possible… live responsibly.”

But he does want to make an impression on his business. He admits, “What I love most about running my own business is being able to decide what direction it takes. It’s also nice to know that you’re the master of your own destiny and you can really grow a brand.”

Xero makes it easier to do that, Craig believes, “Xero makes my life easier. I find it incredibly simple, you don’t have a lot of time when you’re an entrepreneur.”

And the efficiencies Xero adds make it easier to find time to follow his passion: “York was born out of a need to do something creative… something I was really passionate about.”

“You have a family and you’ve got something that you’re passionate about like surfing and you can marry those two together with work.”

For Craig, it’s all about passing on that passion, he enthuses, “We’re passionate about surfing… we want to make amazing products.”

“What our customers love most about York is the fact that it’s a hands-on, well-produced product… hopefully they feel the love in the product and they are gonna get a huge amount of enjoyment out of what we produce for them.”

Behind your business is a Xero series celebrating the people who power South Africa’s small business economy.

Get Xero behind your business

The small business owners featured in this series all use Xero – online accounting software that helps them to save time and get paid faster. It’s a helping hand that makes it easier to run your business and write your own story.

Start using Xero for free

Access Xero features for 30 days, then decide which plan best suits your business.