Surf legend Jack O'Neill hits 89

March 27, 2012 | Surfing
Jack O'Neill: living the surfing life at Pleasure Point

Jack O'Neill has hit 89. The founder of the US surf brand O'Neill was born in 1923, in Denver, Colorado. After serving in the Army Corps, working as a commercial fisherman and selling fire extinguishers, our man had a brilliant idea.

Jack was living by the beach, in San Francisco. He enjoyed bodysurfing in cold water conditions. We know SoCal when it's freezing. Jack has an entrepreneurial soul. He decided to test materials that could reduce the uncomfortable sensation of low water temperatures.

In 1952, Jack O'Neill opens his "Surf Shop", with that exact name. His business grows and in the 1960s, he already had a winning formula against cold water - the wetsuit, made of elastic nylon and neoprene foam.

He loses his left eye in an accident involving the surf leash, which had been developed by his son Pat. During the 80s, Jack O'Neill confirms the world wetsuit domination and leads his surf brand to one of the biggest water sports conglomerate that is today.

Now, our young at heart surf icon lives in the legendary Pleasure Point house, in Santa Cruz California. In 2012, the O'Neill brand celebrates 50 years. What a life.