How An American’s Entrepreneurial Spirit Built One The Greatest Surf Accessory Labels Out Of A Workshop In Yallingup, Western Australia - Stab Mag

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.

Words by Ethan Davis

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 swivel bearing is now industry standard.

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.


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Meet Liv Stone, The Pennsylvania-Born Para Surf World Champion

It’s feel-good time!

Nov 27, 2021

We’re Having Trouble Picking Snapt4’s ‘Best Barrel’ and Monster ‘Maneuver’

Here are the official nominees. Help us out.

Nov 27, 2021

Stab Podcast: Will Peninsula Boy Kelly Slater Spin His Way To Glory At Haleiwa?

Let's hope nobody leaves a menacing note on his car.

Nov 26, 2021


Watch: Lucas Godfrey Is The Most Barreled Man Of The Summer

Puerto Escondido has rarely been surfed like this.

Nov 26, 2021

Watch: Final Episode Of Stab Highway Presented By Monster Energy

It's time to go home.

Nov 26, 2021


Every Once In A While, A Genuine Super-Talent Rears His Pretty Little Head

Bronson Meydi might be that kid.

Nov 25, 2021

Haydenshapes Is Doing A Flash Sale On Their Most Precious Blood Diamonds

7 limited edition ‘altered’ surfboards, discounts, and an exclusive art series rollout across stock models.

Nov 25, 2021

Who’s Going To Make The CT This Year?

Haleiwa, prophesied.

Nov 24, 2021

Let’s Get You A Free Private Session At URBNSURF

We're treating six Stab Premium members to a free surf and tickets to the URBNSURF…

Nov 24, 2021


Nic Von Rupp Just Tamed A Giant Nazaré Tube By Hand (No Ski)

Yes, this is a paddle-in.

Nov 23, 2021


Watch: The Best ‘Shit Waves’ We’ve Seen With Dane Reynolds And Co.

Everything is relative.

Nov 23, 2021

Luca Padua Is A Badass Motherfucker

Meet the 19-year old big-wave prodigy being mentored by Laird Hamilton.

Nov 23, 2021

“My Wife Probably Wouldn’t Have Been Bitten By A Pit Viper If We Lived On A Charter Boat”

A land-based surf camp owner explains how his life and business differ from a boat-based…

Nov 23, 2021


Jordy And J-Bay Go Together Like Old Bay And Popcorn

Grab a fistful and inhale.

Nov 22, 2021

Opinion: In The Age Of The Vlog, It’s Getting Harder To Find Good Surf Films

Surfing and storytelling are two entirely different skillsets.

Nov 22, 2021


Cole Houshmand Gets Crapped On By A Bird, Proceeds To Score Out Of His Mind

Smooth, surgical lines from the San Clemente gentleman in 'Good Luck'.

Nov 22, 2021


Erin Brooks Is A Rare Type Of Talent — We Can’t Stop Watching

Watch the Ladybird air-drop into Kandui caverns with a grin on her face.

Nov 22, 2021

Watch: Harry Bryant’s Feary Sydney Harbour Bridge Swim

One for the history books.

Nov 22, 2021