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Our History

Yeah, this photo is going to date us....


Bob Rueter was working at a Portland sailboat shop in the late 70s when he was introduced to a cool new sport called windsurfing. That introduction would be the catalyst to launch an iconic Portland surf and snowboard shop in 1983.

In the early 80's windsurfing was rapidly gaining appeal around the world. Bob could see the sport's potential, especially with the soon-to-be-infamous Columbia River Gorge in his own backyard, and yet there were no windsurf shops in Oregon. When his boss at the sailboat shop refused to embrace this new sport of windsurfing, Bob seized the opportunity to fill the void in the market. With a modest loan from his Grandmother, and as much courage as good timing, Gorge Performance was born.

Gorge Performance 1983

Over three decades later, Gorge Performance has remained relevant within the industry by continuing to add emerging sports to the menu. The first addition was snowboarding back in 1984. Then came surfing in 1990. No, surfing wasn't new, but it was unusual to have such a well stocked surf shop 90 miles from the ocean.

Bob circa 1990

The skateboard department has steadily grown and evolved from the early land sailing boards Bob and the crew tried hard to kill themselves on. Most recently, stand up paddling joined the board lineup in 2006 solidifying Gorge Performance as the premier go-to shop for all things boardsport in Portland, if not the PNW. Part of the shop's appeal is that the subject matter – surfing the earth – spans generations, from groms to moms equally excited about their first board, to longtime boardheads dating back to the heydays of the 80's windsurfing boom. 

Today, Bob is still very much at the helm churning out 10+ hour days like he has for over 30 years. Only now he's joined by his wife and business partner, Kim, two kids, and shop dog Dixie. They are supported by a dedicated and talented crew of employees who embody the spirit of boarders helping boarders pursue their passion. If you don't find Kim or Bob in the shop, odds are good they're out on the water doing some R&D. Collectively the Gorge Crew has logged thousands of sessions playing on the water, in the wind and on the snow to amass a wealth of knowledge they're eager to share. Nothing trumps experience, and Gorge Performance has decades of it.

What matters most to Bob and Kim is that everyone feels welcome and is well-served. Shoppers have so many options these days, and Gorge Performance strives to add real value to their customers' experience every day with great service, selection and genuine guidance. "The real bonus for us is a lot of great friends have been made along the way." — Bob

Bob and Kim Rueter