Legendary surfboard artist steps away from industry to care for ailing dad, looks to grumpy locals for help!

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Now VALs and/or post-Covid converts may not understand what actually goes into building a surfboard, as many and/or most are hard for softops, but we, you and me, know that the business is closer to art than commerce. Shapers, finishers, glassers, laminators etc. each toil at razor thin margins in order to allow us to dance upon the waves and those razor thin margins are no joke.

Surfers are generally, let’s be honest, cheap and do not like to pay anymore than absolutely necessary for our lollipops. All fine and good, capitalism gonna capitalize, but most of the aforementioned work without a safety net. No robust savings accounts. No trust funds.

Mike Delaney, anyhow, is a fixture of the art class, laminating boards for Matt Biolos, Panda, Doc, Cordell, Patterson, etc. and so many others for years upon years but his fortunes have changed, his family in need and I’ll let him pick up the story.

With a sad heart, I’m sharing with you that my dad, Richard, has been diagnosed with advanced Parkinson’s Disease. Being an only child, I need to make the move back to South Carolina to help my mom with the day-to-day care of my dad.

My decision was not easy, but I need to leave the surf industry I love to care for my family. It’s been an emotional decision, but it’s the right one to make.

This GoFundMe account is primarily to cover the expenses of my cross-country move. It will also give me some time to find a new profession outside of the surfboard industry.

Please pray for all of us as we adjust to this new reality. My family & I thank you for your help and appreciate your generous donation.


Dip in and feel good when you lay your head on that pillow tonight.

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World Surf League CEO Erik Logan (left) informs surf legend Tom Carroll of the latest exciting partnership deal.
World Surf League CEO Erik Logan (left) informs surf legend Tom Carroll of the latest exciting partnership deal.

Pro Darts Corp., Pro Bowlers Assoc. look on in bitter jealously as World Surf League inks multi-year deal with ladder company!


Here we are, two events into the 2023 World Surf League Championship Tour season and it is difficult not to stand in awe. Oh, the waves were not perfect for either the Billabong Pro Pipeline or the Hurley Pro Sunset Beach but there were days that simply exceeded. Moments that drew our breath and made us feel.

Well, that momentum is certain to carry into the upcoming Australian leg which kicks off April 4th after a lonely stop in Europe for there, on Bells iconic shore, the World Surf League will unveil its newest partner.

Bailey Ladders.

Per the scintillating press release:

The partnership expansion is across the ‘23 and ‘24 seasons, with the ‘Official Ladder’ of the WSL seeing the continuation of the successful onsite activation, the “Bailey Ladders Leaderboard”, which will also continue on the live broadcast and across WSL’s social media channels.

“The WSL is happy to have Bailey Ladders increase their involvement to include the CT events in Australia for the next two years,” said WSL APAC President Andrew Stark. “We had incredible feedback from fans onsite and watching from home on the Bailey Ladders Leaderboard. We look forward to continuing this activation across four events in 2023 and 24, both onsite and online. We’d like to thank them for their ongoing support and for seeing the value in professional surfing.”

“Bailey Ladders is excited to expand our partnership with the WSL to include the two major Championship Tour events in Australia. We see this as a great opportunity for our brand, stakeholders and the WSL fans,” said Bailey Ladders Managing Director Asia Pacific, Scott Douglas. “Many surfing fans use our products every day, so I’m glad we can be part of the growth and excitement of the Australian WSL events.”

I have zero doubt as to the veracity of the “incredible feedback from fans onsite and watching from home on the Bailey Ladders Leaderboard” but am so curious as to how it presented.

Placards in the crowd reading “I LOVE LADDERS!” possibly?

Phone calls directly to the office of Mr. Stark sobbing over the beauty of ladders?

Incredible feedback from fans onsite.

It really doesn’t get better than that.

Billion-dollar wavepool, real estate and eco-resort development on Australia’s Sunshine Coast championed by Kelly Slater “no longer being pursued”!

Scuttled by government, by community activists or lack of interest by WSL?

It’s called the paradox of the environmental businessman. You want to save the planet but, hey, a buck’s a buck. 

Three years ago, the self-described pro-environment and wildlife advocate Kelly Slater urged the Queensland government to approve the WSL’s billion-dollar development on 510-hectares, or 1200 acres, of “highly constrained land” near the Queensland beach town of Coolum.

“This wave would become somewhat of a mecca and put the Sunshine Coast back on the (surfing) map…it will bring a lot of interest to the area and it will be a place that I know a lot of people are going to want to surf and have an ongoing impact on the local area…we have had so many people asking for so long where we’re going to build the next wave including Australia,” Slater told the local press.

In a series of stories for BeachGrit Longtom concluded, 

Drive-time from the airport is fourteen-minutes at a hundred k’s heading due north up the Sunshine Motorway. Glancing left at the site which is bordered by the road the presence of water on the ground, despite the drought, is startling. Fifteen hundred residential lots, commercial, retail, hotels plus the wavepool on some of the lowest lying floodplain in south-east Queensland.

What, as they say, could go wrong?

I put boots on the ground at the site. I know this country very well. It’s in my blood. My people come from the Queensland cane swamps. They are Danes, Swedes, Sicilians.

Practical people.

They would understand the necessity of bulldozing the bush to make way for jobs. But I do not. The developer’s eye eludes me. I see trees and bush. Birds, insects, frogs. I feel sad that surfers will be the ones behind the bull-dozers, erasing this wildlife, this bush from history.

From what I can see though, although there is ambivalence, distrust and even hostility to the Coolum wave pool development, that is unlikely to stop the bulldozers.

The greenwashing on the project will be immense.

Next level.

But I wonder, when Kelly thinks about what is being done in his name and looks in the mirror, does he still see an environmentalist looking back at him?

Now, after three years of lobbying, the development is dead in the water.

“The Queensland Government understands this development is no longer being pursued,” the Deputy premier and Minster for State  Development, Infrastructure etc, Steven Miles, wrote in a letter to the Member for Ninderry, Dan Purdie. 

(The Ninderry electorate takes in the proposed site for the tank.)

Now, what’s that say to you? 

It ain’t a formal rejection by the government, but reads like the WSL threw in the towel. 

Maybe too hard? Maybe too much opposition? 

Either way, you sad, would’ve been wild to see another Slater pool in the wild and to hell with the native fauna, or thrilled the WSL racked up another failure?

Surfing world champions and legends slam modern pro’s following “weak” performances at iconic Sunset Beach yesterday, “It blows my mind the way 90% of these guys are trying to surf Sunset. Taking off in the whitewater and not even trying to get out to the peak!”

“You don’t take a blade to a gunfight. You take a gun!”

A cavalcade of world champions including the former WSL colour commentator Martin Potter, as well as Tom Carroll, Shaun Tomson, Joel Tudor, Damien Hardman and Gary Elkerton have slammed modern professional surfers for their “weak” performances at Sunset Beach yesterday. 

Despite the perfect waves and the hitherto unseen extravagance shown by starlets Toledo, Colapinto, Chianca and Robinson, the champs were seething, shivering with degrading dialogue.

In a post to his thousands of fans, Gary “Kong” Elkerton, famous in the nineteen-eighties for plummeting down the cobra-like west peaks that periodically close out the channel, wrote:

“I was hoping at the event this year someone might have the balls to gear up on the right equipment and go out and get (a West peak), very boring watching whitewater take-offs on 6,2s and 6.4s, sorry for the rant but that’s not the way to surf Sunset Beach.”


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A post shared by Gary Elkerton (@garykongelkerton)

Shaun Tomson, the world champion in 1977 and a pioneer of backside tuberiding at Pipeline replied, 

“Keep choosing a 6 2 and you will keep getting clipped while you run out of rail and drive – no matter how good you are.”

Robbie Page, a tour standout in the eighties, spat “If anyone caught a real wave from outside I’d say it would get half the score for only surfing the inside point for those crew that surf in there. Fucken waste of Sunset. Get out the back.” 

Over on 1989 world champ Martin Potter’s Instagram page an identical sentiment was expressed, 

“Sunset is on at the moment, how times have changed, guys are riding 6”2 s this is a 7”6 it was my go to at Sunset and wouldn’t dream of riding a shorter board.”


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“Yeah Pottz…I don’t get it,” the world champion in 1983 and ’84,  Tom Carroll, replied. 

Kong swooped in here, too, telling his old arch-rival,

“Mate, it’s just blowing my mind the way 90% of these guys are trying to surf Sunset…. Taking off on the inside in the whitewater not even trying to get out to the peak hard to watch.”

As did Shaun Tomson,

“Some abominably bad board choices yesterday at Sunset. Even the hottest of the hot was taken out by riding a 6 2. You don’t take a blade to a gunfight. You take a gun.”

A lot of verbal histrionics, yes?

Where does this put you?

Did yesterday’s performances put a tongue between your legs or did you find it a mass of buffoonery, the old gag and sputter?


In utterly macabre twist, Byron Bay’s vapid narcissistic surfers “selfishly hell-bent on looking good” deemed responsible for “penetrating head injuries on small children!”

Unchecked hedonism leading to child abuse.

Ask any upwardly mobile mid-30 year old urban alternative craft/longboard surfer where the dream resides and she is likely to answer, “In Byron Bay, of course.” The small village of approximately 6000 souls has burst into imaginations around the world what with its picture-perfect setting, gentle waves, undulating curves and hemp-infused sexy.

What is not to love?

Well, maybe a lot these days. The bucolic dreamscape has devolved into a Dantesque inferno over the past few years. Or as the late, great Longtom put it, “A MONUMENT TO GREED WEARING A SPIRITUAL CLOAK. A GLITTERING DREAM METASTASIZED INTO A MALIGNANT NIGHTMARE. THE SPAWN OF UNHINGED NEOLIBERALISM AND GRINNING HIPPY CAPITALISTS!

Much of the trouble has to do with leg-rope-less longboards careening through ocean splash-splashers and causing all manner of trouble.

Oh, you’ve read the macabre stories, grown men getting biceps ripped clean off etc. but the whole business might be reaching a Satanic crescendo.

Ian Cohen, former Greens MP and surf enthusiast, told The Guardian, “Waves throw surfboards around like matchsticks. A 10-foot board with fins on it coming a long way has got a lot of momentum and weight behind it. They effectively become a deadly weapon.”

Cate Coorey, a Byron Shire councillor, went further in implicating shortboards too, adding, “We really do need something that will actually give people pause for thought before they venture into a crowded surf. Those boards travel at great speed, and a lot of them are really pointy.”

She said there have been “countless” collisions that had directly led to “penetrating head injuries on small children.”

Very “cabal” sounding and would make sense, considering Byron Bay’s political bent.

In any case, can’t leg ropes simply be mandated?

Not so fast, says Cohen.

“Surfing is a very hedonistic sport that is regulated by image, or people who are selfishly hell-bent on looking good.”

Something for you to think about, I suppose.

In the meantime, though, local surfboard repairman Simon Maltby thinks leashes are not the issue.

“A lot of incidents in the surf are caused by people who do wear leg ropes,” he declared. “They go out with a sense of false security because they have it on. You take off on waves that are far out of their capabilities, because they know they won’t lose their board.”

So what to do?

Solutions please.