Beach-banner pilots rely on skill and some degree of daring to get their messages aloft

By Robert Bateman |  Photograph by Kevin Fleming
From the August 2017 issue

feature-bannerplanes Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #42The takeoff of the single-engine Piper Super Cub is unremarkable. Accelerating down the runway, the small aircraft moves faster and faster until it lifts off the ground and rises into the sky.

It is the next few minutes that amaze.

Entering a figure-8 pattern above the runway, the pilot opens his window and throws out a cable that dangles behind and slightly below the aircraft; at the end of that line, though difficult to see from the ground, is a grapnel hook.

The pilot then banks and passes over a small group of people off to the side of the runway, who stand near two thin poles and a pair of orange cones.

From his teenage years on, catching a wave was more than just a thrill for Gary Revel

By Lynn R. Parks  |  Photograph by Nick Gruber
From the August 2017 issue

feature-garyrevel Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #42When a heart attack brought that to a halt, he had to heal to surf again. But in healing, he had to share his story about being beckoned by death.

A couple years ago, Gary Revel and his son Michael loaded up their surfboards and headed from their home near Ocean View to Assateague Island, south of Ocean City, Md. Gary, who in his teens and 20s was considered by many to be the best surfer in coastal Delaware, hadn’t been out on the water in a while. But Michael had a new board and was eager to try it.

In the early days, taking a dip in the ocean was a new idea

By Michael Morgan
From the July 2017 issue

look-back Our Content - Delaware Beach Life - Results from #42Don’t stand shivering and shrinking back from the spent waves,” the Rehoboth Beacon, advised in 1876, “Walk briskly out until waist-deep and sink down until the water touches your chin.Then you are prepared for business.”

When the Rehoboth Beach Camp Meeting Association established Rehoboth as a seaside retreat in 1873, church members could escape the turmoil of the modern world and attend services in the shady grove on the west edge of town.

Very quickly, however, vacationers were drawn to the other end of town and the cooling surf.

Unfortunately, most of the early visitors to Rehoboth had never before experienced a dip in the ocean.

Nineteenth-century Americans had inherited an aversion to water from their European cousins, who associated water with a number of diseases.

Some folks went years without immersing themselves in a true bath, and many thought that the idea of jumping into the ocean for fun was idiotic.