I don't know about any delays (at least in the US)... We have been expecting directionals to arrive at the end of September (as in years past) and as far as I know we're still on-target. Same with the twintips. The only delay I've seen is the Vegas is coming a few weeks later than expected, but that could be due to any number of things.
As to the graphics, I would have agreed with you 2 weeks ago. I couldn't understand why anyone would want to paint over the wood finish. But then I got to surf expo and it made a little more sense. The boards look WAY better in person. They have a really tasteful way of showing off the wood through sections of the paint. You can't see it in pictures, but it comes out in person.
On top of that, we've used the pure wood look for the last two years, and when you walk around the expo, all you see is exposed wood veneer from pretty much every other board company. I think our 2013 boards stand out from the crowd and look really good.
And for the record, I also thought that our kites looked terrible in the first images I saw, but I think they look really good in person. Wait till you see them in person and ride them before you cast judgement.
And as for performance, I've only had one weekend on two models and let's just say I'm super stoked on our directionals again this year.
Manafactures now seems to be painting their boards white, (take a look at slingshot) so they won't stand out from the crowd other than the ! graphics which look like 3rd place at a 1980's primary school art class competition.