How An American’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Built One The Greatest Surf Accessory Labels Out Of A Workshop In Yallingup, Western Australia
Mick, Steph, & Jake Paterson tell the story of Creatures founder, John Malloy.
You probably won’t be familiar with John Malloy’s name, but you’ve almost certainly used his products.
Almost all legrope manufacturers license John’s IP, the stainless-steel swivel bearing mold mechanism that attaches the rope to the leash strap.
When John first developed the new bearing mechanism it was a quantum leap in legrope technology that stopped returns under warranty dead in their tracks. It was the result of decades of obsessive R&D and testing on different combinations of materials and configurations that led to his breakthrough.
“Every legrope broke at the same place. There’s a spot on the legrope where the mold ends and the cord starts. A legrope is only as good as the sum of its raw materials. You have a urethane cord that will stretch to 5x times its length before it loses its integrity. So what you’re trying to do is design a legrope that stretches to the integrity threshold of the urethane molecules before it breaks.”
That’s kind of the least interesting part of the story though.
The most interesting part of John Malloy’s story is how he was able to build one of the greatest surf teams in history as a small accessory label operating out of a workshop in Yallingup. Mick Fanning, Steph Gilmore, Italo Ferreira, Rasta, Rob Machado, Taj Burrow, Jake Paterson, Harrison Roach, Ethan Ewing, Griffin Colapinto, Chris Ward, Clay Marzo, Bronte Macaulay, to name a few.
The culture John built at Creatures attracted superstars who were happy to endorse products that they actually believed in without crazy amounts of financial remuneration. Mick Fanning and Steph Gilmore’s relationship with John have together spanned well over 35 years and is more akin to a family dynamic than a commercial one.
“You take a product, break it down into its parts, and figure out what’s wrong with the unit and ask, ‘how can we make it better?’”
Watch a Creature of Leisure here, narrated by Steph Gilmore, and learn more about the man who built one of the greatest hardware companies on a bedrock of hard work, integrity, and obsession.
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