Jack O'Neill: father of a true surfing spirit

In honor of founder Jack O’Neill and his numerous contributions to the world of surfing and action sports, O’Neill will release a biographical coffee table book, Jack O’Neill: It’s Always Summer on the Inside.

The book will be available in stores Spring 2011, with a percentage of the book’s sales donated to the O’Neill Sea Odyssey, a 501(c)(3) non-profit environmental education program.

Coinciding with the announcement, O’Neill will host an exclusive press conference at Jack O’Neill’s private home on the coast at Pleasure Point in Santa Cruz, California. Jack O’Neill, Pat O’Neill, and author Drew Kampion will host the conference. Media in attendance of the event will have the opportunity to have a rare personal interview with Jack O’Neill.

Jack O’Neill: It’s Always Summer on the Inside, features 256 pages filled with stories and anecdotes of Jack O’Neill’s legendary adventures over the past 60 years. Each chapter is a compilation of short narratives and impactful historical imagery, recounting Jack’s life and times.

From his early years in Southern California and Oregon to San Francisco, where he invented the surfing wetsuit, to Santa Cruz, where he built an international business by effectively defying the seasons, the story is told in Jack’s own words as well as dozens of contributors. Jack O’Neill: It’s Always Summer on the Inside is an oral biography documenting the O’Neill story: the man, the family, the team, the wetsuit, the brand, and the surfing lifestyle.

A renowned entrepreneur, adventurer, and innovator, Jack O’Neill has always defied barriers and obstacles to exploring new frontiers, from pioneering the wetsuit because he “just wanted to surf longer” to opening the doors of the world’s first Surf Shop in 1952 to fostering a revolutionary “Team” consciousness in surfing in the 1970s and ’80s. Through it all, Jack’s relentless push for innovation and excellence emerged in a definitive range of products that allowed athletes and consumers around the world to push their personal limits.

“My motivation has always been fueled by the waves and the ocean,” said Jack O’Neill. “In fact, I’ve been working for most of my life to find ways that we can all better appreciate and enjoy this fantastic planet. To have a book telling the story of my life and my journey is a true honor,” he added, “but, more importantly, I hope my story will inspire others to look past their limitations and to think toward the future with greater respect for Mother Nature.”

Author Drew Kampion is a close friend of the O’Neill family and author of several books on surfers and waves, including The Book of Waves and Stoked! A History of Surf Culture. A former editor of Surfer and Surfing magazines and a past advertising director with O’Neill in Santa Cruz, Kampion has had first-hand experience with the expansion and growth of the O’Neill brand over the past 40 years.

“The story of Jack O’Neill is one of the most iconic biographies of the surfing world, and I am privileged to be the one who gets to tell it,” said Kampion. “Without Jack this would be a very different world – and not just for surfers, but for ocean-lovers and adventurers of all stripes. Jack’s is a quintessential American story of creative energy and uncompromising passion; it’s about a guy who started with virtually nothing and has been flying by the seat of his pants ever since.

As an innovator, inventor, and visionary, Jack O’Neill (individually and with his family, team athletes, and signature products) has expanded the range and depth of the human experience. As a man, Jack has demonstrated the fluidity of a Zen master in bringing soul to the marketplace and wit to a world that would have been way more boring without him. This has been an exciting tale to tell!”

The contributors to Jack O’Neill: It’s Always Summer on the Inside include some of the most respected surfers and ocean-oriented icons, including Bruce Brown, Shaun Tomson, Robby Naish, Tom Curren, Phil Edwards, Fred Van Dyke, Mike Doyle, Martin Potter, Ken “Skindog” Collins, Dane Kealoha, Joey Buran, Jim Philips, Jim Foley, Jack, LaLanne, and Jordy Smith … to name just a few!

Discover the best surf books.

Matt Wilkinson: from the Australian Copacabana

ASP Dream Tour surfer Matt Wilkinson (Copacabana, AUS), 22, won the ASP Prime O’Neill Cold Water Classic California over young Hawaiian Tonino Benson (Kailua, HI), 20, in tricky two-to-four foot (1 metre) conditions at Steamer Lane in Santa Cruz, California.

Wilkinson, who is currently competing on his rookie year on the ASP World Tour, ventured to the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California in search of the valuable ratings points on offer at the ASP Prime event to contribute to his ASP World Ranking.

The progressive goofy-footer launched out to a quick start in his bout against the young Hawaiian, blasting a solid 7 point ride. Benson quickly matched the Aussie’s score, but Wilkinson notched a backup score of 6.67, to take out the win after a week of impressive backhand surfing at Steamer Lane.

“I’m so stoked, I haven’t won a contest in a long time,” Wilkinson said. “It’s been a long day, but I guess when it’s cold like this I guess you don’t get too buggered. I kept enough energy for the final and just got over the edge, so I’m stoked. I love surfing on my backhand and have always felt I’m stronger backside, I’m just stoked to have won this contest.”

Wilkinson, who is currently sitting in the No. 27 position on the ASP Dream Tour, was elated to win the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California, which will substantially boost his ASP World Ranking.

“This is definitely a good result for my World Ranking going into the rest of the year,” Wilkinson said. “I’m towards the back of the ratings on the World Tour and I was getting a little bit worried about the end of the year and I don’t know, I’m definitely stoked with this.”

Wilkinson will also carry the confidence from his massive win this week to the upcoming Rip Curl Pro Search Puerto Rico, where he will return to battle in elite ASP World Tour competition.

“This win is definitely good for the confidence,” Wilkinson said. “It’s the first time I’ve won in ages and it’s got me on a high so hopefully I can keep the ball going and make some heats in Puerto Rico.”

Benson was another young talent to shine on his backhand at Steamer Lane. The lightning-fast goofy-footer eliminated and impressive list of names including 2009 O’Neill Cold Water Classic Champion Nathan Yeomans (San Clemente, CA), 29, prodigy Kolohe Andino (San Clemente, CA), 16, and Australian Yadin Nicol (Margaret River, AUS), 24, before falling to Wilkinson in the final.

“That was kind of a tough heat for me,” Benson said. “I just couldn’t find a second wave and it cost me. It’s okay. I’m stoked. It’s a good result for me. I just came off of an injury, so I’m really happy that I made the final.”

Nat Young (Santa Cruz, CA), 19, who was a standout throughout the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California, detonated the day’s highest heat-total of 15.36 out of 20 in his Quarterfinals matchup, but was unable to find a rhythm in his wave-starved Semifinals heat against Matt Wilkinson at his local break of Steamer Lane and finished equal 3rd overall.

“The waves were terrible and I fell on all of my waves,” Young said. “I’m pretty bummed. It’s a good result, but I just wish the waves were a little better.”

Billy Stairmand (Raglan, NZL), 21, snagged the day’s highest single-wave score of an 8.17 out of 10 with a variety of committed forehand fins-free turns and powerful rail-carves in his Quarterfinal heat victory, but earned an interference in the opening seconds of his Semifinals bout and was unable to recover. Stairmand finished equal 3rd overall.

“The conditions went pretty much flat and the tide has dropped out,” Stairmand said. “I was pretty unlucky to get an interference at the start of that heat, but congratulations to Tonino (Benson) he was ripping.”

The impressive result posted by the young Kiwi will substantially help his cause towards his ASP World Ranking.

“Getting 3rd here is better than my win at the 6-Star,” Stairmand said. “It’s good to win a bit of money to help with the travel as well.”

Shaun Cansdell (AUS), 27, who finished equal 25th in the O’Neill Cold Water Classic California, took top honors in the O’Neill Cold Water Classic Series to win the $50,000 prize purse for finishing first in the five-event series after Dion Atkinson failed to advance out of his Round of 16 heat this morning and was at a loss for words after winning the additional prize money.

“I don’t even know what to say,” Cansdell said. “I’m really stoked to have ended up winning the Cold Water Series. I’m at a loss for words.”

O’Neill Cold Water Classic California Final Result:

1 – Matt Wilkinson (AUS) 13.67
2 – Tonino Benson (HAW) 12.53

Tim O'Connor: beautiful snap, mate

Tim O'Connor and Leon Santorik (Ngati Toa) went wave for wave at the Auahi Kore Aotearoa Maori Titles today with O'Connor getting the nod scoring 17.00 out of a possible 20 points for a well deserved win.

The final day of the event was played out in clean 1.0m waves at Manu Bay, Raglan under blazing sun that saw the natural amphitheatre packed full of spectators come finals time.

The pinnacle Billabong Open Men's Division was the climax of the event and the surfing displayed by the four finalists warranted rapturous cheers from the crowd lining the bay.

Santorik opened the final with 6.0 point ride and was on the next wave knocking up a 7.0 point ride and healthy lead within the first five minutes.

However it was O'Connor that notched up an 8.67 on his first ride and then waited for a second good scoring ride which he secured with a series of vertical backhand re-entries to score an 8.33 point ride. The task seemed insurmountable for Santorik now requiring a 9.33 for the win but with five minutes to go he rode the best wave of the final only to fall agonisingly short with a score of 8.73.

The final ended up a two horse race with the two older finalists, Daniel Kereopa (Tainui) and Matt Bennett (Ngai Te Rangi) unable to keep up with the frantic pace of the young boys and having to settle for third and fourth respectively.

Jessica Santorik (Ngati Toa) beat her best friend Kelly Clarkson (Te Arawa) in the final of the Roxy Open Women's Division. Santorik posted 15.17 as her total heat score. The win will have been rewarding after she was eliminated in the semifinals of the Billabong Open Men's Division. Clarkson finished in second place scoring 12.33 ahead of Renee Lee (Nga Puhi) in third.

Tyler Lawson (Kahungunu) took out his first major win of his career in the Quiksilver Under 18 Boys Division. Lawson posted a 15.67 point heat total to outscore Mount Maunganui surfer Todd Doyle in second and double finalist Peri Matenga in third scoring 13.93 and 13.20 respectively. Lawson used his flare to rack up the big points opening the final with an 8.33 getting his fins free on several big backhand turns. Young Taranaki surfer Mahorahora McLeod (Ngati Mutunga) placed fourth in the final.

Peri Matenga (Tainui) put on one of his best performances of the year to win the Rapu Under 16 Boys Division. After surfing to a pair of sevens on his opening two rides he then got the biggest set of the final and proceeded to nail three massive backhand hooks to score 9.17 out of a possible ten points and 'combo' his opponents. Elliot Paerata - Reid (Tu Wharetoa) bit back on his last two waves of the heat with 8.33 and 6.60 but came up short finishing in second place. Waretini Wano (Te Atiawa) placed third scoring 11.90 with Kahu Craig - Ranga (Ngaiterangi) in fourth on 10.50.

Taranaki surfer Jeremy Grainger (Ngati Ruanui) won the Bodyline Over 30 Men's Division coming from behind on his last wave to post a 7.33 point ride and leap frog local surfer and 2007 champion Wayne Cooper (Ngai Tai) who finished in second place. Third placed Shaun Coffey (Ngati Ruahine) scored 8.20 in the final with local surfer Harley Muru (Tainui) finishing in fourth place.

Phill Willoughby (Nga Puhi) claimed two divisions on the final day - the Bodyline Over 35 Men's Division title and the Ocean and Earth Over 40 Men's title. The two sit nicely alongside his victories in the Over 30s (2006) and 35s (2005 and 2006).

In the Bodyline Over 35 Men's Division, Willoughby used his local knowledge to surf two brilliant opening waves of 7.33 and 5.97. Defending champion Shaun Coffey (Ngati Ruahine) went wave for wave with Willoughby however he came up 0.1 points short on each wave and placed second. Nick Rowe (Ngati Porou) placed third in the final with Te-Raihe Rutene (Waikato) placing fourth.

Willoughby also claimed his first Ocean and earth Over 40 Men's title on his home break after backing up his Bodyline Over 35 Men's title. Willoughby only rode two waves but after opening with 5.0 and 9.0 point rides, the win was never threatened. Doug Ranga (Ngai Te Rangi) placed second in the final scoring 9.50 with archrival Ronnie Mayor (Ngai Te Rangi) in third and Pipi Ngaia (Te Atiawa) in fourth.

Earlier in the day, Kereopa took out the Hyundai Longboard Division amassing 16.50 points out of 20 through his modern approach to longboarding. Kereopa was the runaway winner in the final with James Atutahi (Te Arawa) placing second scoring 10.83 points to place second. Martin Matanga and Pipi Ngaia finished in third and fourth respectively.

At the prize giving it was a very modest Martin Matenga that was awarded the prestigious Rapu Mana Award for his work done with Maori surfing. Matenga has worked for several years with the young Maori surfers around the Bay of Plenty. Noticeably, he also the father of two talented young surfers, one of which won the Under 16 Boys Division today - Peri Matenga. Matenga has also attended the many Rangatahi Wananga training camps for young Maori surfers embracing the Maori culture and passing on his wisdom to young surfers.

The Auahi Kore Aotearoa Maori Surfing Titles are held annually and the event has become one of the premier events of the Surfing New Zealand events calendar. Labour Weekend is generally the time of the year that the titles are held.

Please see below for final results from the Auahi Kore Aotearoa Maori Titles completed at Manu Bay, Raglan today (Sunday 24th October).

Billabong Open Men's Division Final
Tim O'Connor (Mnt), 1, Leon Santorik (Ngati Toa), 2, Daniel Kereopa (Tainui), 3, Matt Bennett (Ngaiterangi), 4

Roxy Open Women's Final
Jessica Santorik (Ngati Toa), 1, Kelly Clarkson (Te Arawa), 2, Renee Lee (Nga Puhi), 3

Quiksilver Under 18 Boys Final
Tyler Lawson (Kahungunu), 1, Todd Doyle (Nga Puhi), 2, Peri Matenga (Tainui), 3, Mahorahora McLeod (Ngati Mutunga), 4

Rapu Under 16 Boys Finals
Peri Matenga (Tainui), 1, Elliot Paerata - Reid (Tu Whare Toa), 2, Waretini Wano (Te Atiawa), 3, Kahu Craig - Ranga (Ngaiterangi), 4

Bodyline Over 30 Men's Final
Jeremy Grainger (Ngati Ruanui), 1, Wayne Cooper (Ngai Tai), 2, Shaun Coffey (Ngati Ruahine), 3, Harley Muru (Tainui), 4

Bodyline Over 35 Men's Finals
Phil Willoughby (Nga Puhi), 1, Shaun Coffey (Ngati Ruahine), 2, Nick Rowe (Ngati Porou), 3, Te-Raihe Rutene (Waikato), 4

Hyundai Longboard Final

Daniel Kereopa (Tainui), 1, James Atutahi (Te Arawa), 2, Marty Matenga (Tainui), 3, Pipi Ngaia (Teenui), 4