With Greenlines, Surfers Dive Into Beachwear

Family’s Shore business goes global.

Board shorts for all! That’s the mantra at Greenlines in Fair Haven, where beachwear for men, women and kids sells swimmingly.
Board shorts for all! That’s the mantra at Greenlines in Fair Haven, where beachwear for men, women and kids sells swimmingly.
Photo courtesy of Greenlines

When brothers Sam and Jerry Delaney spent summers surfing and sailing in their hometown of Bay Head, they had no complaints about the sun and surf—but disliked the long-legged board shorts available in Shore shops. “We wanted a cleaner, more traditional cut,” Sam says.

So in 2009, the siblings, known locally for their volunteer efforts to protect area waterways, took the plunge to create their Greenlines brand of board shorts from recycled fabric. They brought their basic patterns to a mill that created prototypes of comfy, fast-drying board shorts and then began manufacturing in small batches.

Although Sam and Jerry had no experience in clothing manufacturing, their colorful, classic designs took hold when the town of Spring Lake ordered the bright-red, Stinson-style swim trunks for their lifeguards. Soon other Garden State towns, beach associations  and specialty retailers followed suit.

“We got our big break in 2014 when Patagonia began carrying us in their Manhattan store,” Sam says.  Soon after, more than 200 domestic and international retailers started selling the full Greenlines collection: men’s, women’s and kids’ board shorts, T-shirts, sweatshirts and hats.

That same year, the Delaneys opened their first retail store in Montauk, New York; a second shop in Fair Haven followed last spring. Greenlines soon will expand to Florida and California as well. “We use only recycled, organic materials to produce our proprietary fabric and expend 84 percent less energy, with 77 percent fewer CO2 emissions,” Sam says. Greenlines donates a portion of sales to preserve area beaches through Surfrider Foundation and local environmental advocates.

The brothers remain involved with the brand’s daily activities, and Sam’s wife, Colleen, also helps manage the business. In fact, if you visit the Fair Haven shop, you’re likely to find the couple behind the counter.

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