Jack O'Neill, the father of the modern wetsuit, dies at 94

Surf legend and wetsuit pioneer Jack O'Neill passed away at 94.

Jack O'Neill was born in Denver, Colorado, on March 27, 1923. He started body surfing in Oregon in the late 1930s before moving to San Francisco, where he earned a bachelor degree in arts at San Francisco State University.

In 1952, he developed his own brand - O'Neill - and opened one of California's first surf shops. He named his small store "Surf Shop."

Jack did not invent the wetsuit. The invention of the waterman's second skin is attributed to Hugh Bradner, a UC Berkeley physicist who found a way to trap the body's heat using new post-war materials.

But Jack, alongside Bob and Bill Meistrell from Body Glove, was one of the first to develop a product specially designed for cold water surfers.

Until then, it was nearly impossible to enjoy an hour of waves in the frigid waters of Northern California without suffering hypothermia. Neoprene wetsuit revolutionized surfing and improved the sport dramatically. surfertoday.com