10 July, 2017 10 July, 2017

For this we thank Jack O’Neill

Imagine a world without the modern day wetsuit!? The Cape Town surf scene would only come to life on those hot summer days and would be confined to Muizenberg, with the onshore, and only the thickest of thick skinned watermen and women would brave those corduroy lined J-bay winter swells. But thanks to Jack O’Neill, inventor of the modern day wetsuit, our biggest problem remains choosing a colour and size that fits.

Given Jack O’Neill’s great legacy, his invention of the wetsuit and being the founding member of O’Neill, a paddle out took place on Monday 10th July at 8.30am Lower Point, Jeffreys Bay, led by O’Neill big gun, Jordy Smith.

And while we’re reminiscing, be sure to watch this here movie made by Peter Hamblin the same individual that brought us ‘Lets Be Frank’. 


Press Release:

JBay – On Monday 10th July 2017, O’Neill would like to invite everyone to join a paddle out in celebration of Jack O’Neill’s life and adventures. From Santa Cruz to Jeffrey’s, O’Neill will honour the legacy of Jack O’Neill with numerous paddle outs worldwide on Sunday July 9th and Monday the 10th.

For the South Africa edition, those wishing to pay tributes to the pioneer of the wetsuit are encouraged to join O’Neill surfer Jordy Smith at the Lower Point Car Park in Jeffreys Bay on Monday 10 July at 8.30 am, for a 9:00 am paddle out. For further information please visit the SA Facebook Page.

Most recognizable for his eye patch and his beard, Jack’s desire to surf longer drove him to create an innovative suit that allowed surfers to be the first in the icy waters of the San Francisco Bay and the last out. Playing around with materials to create a barrier between the body and the ocean, Jack’s first suits were built of unicellular foam material that he bought from a local surplus store. The invention was monumental – it made it possible for surfing to be a year-round activity in cold water areas and welcomed a new mass of people who previously didn’t surf. Those first suits led to more surfers, more fans and the eventual acceptance of surfing in popular culture.

A series of memorial paddle outs will take place across the globe to celebrate the legacy of Jack O’Neill, a man who, through sheer passion changed the face of surfing forever. Honouree paddle outs are scheduled in the United States, Canada, the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, France, South Africa, Australia and Japan.

Jack O’Neill, surfer, ocean lover, wetsuit pioneer, sailor, balloonist, and founder of the iconic worldwide surf company O’Neill, passed away in Santa Cruz, California, of natural causes at the age of 94. The family of Jack O’Neill and the O’Neill brand would like to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to all who have reached out with thoughts, prayers, sympathy, remembrances, stories and pictures since the passing of legendary waterman Jack O’Neill on Friday 2nd June 2017.

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