Founded in 1952, Jack O’Neill with his love of surfing created the first neoprene wetsuit and started the O’neill shop out of a garage in Santa Cruz.
To commemorate their 60th anniversary O’Neill Launches Biographical Book, “Jack O’Neill: It’s Always Summer on the Inside,”
The coffee table book traces journey of Jack O’Neill’s invention of the wetsuit and the evolution of the iconic surf brand
Santa Cruz, CA, September 29, 2011- The maverick, the pioneer, the legendary man behind the wetsuit and first surf shop, Jack O’Neill, celebrates 60 years of pioneering a revolutionary brand that changed the surf industry forever.
O’Neill will be releasing a biographical coffee table book following the journey of the man whose passion 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.
The 256-page, hardcover book written by Drew Kampion and published by Chronicle Books will be released on oneilleshop.com and other selected retail shops starting October 1. “Jack O’Neill, It’s Always Summer on the Inside,” will retail for $40 USD with a portion of sales going to Jack’s own non-profit environmental education program, O’Neill Sea Odyssey.
In 1952, Jack O’Neill opened the doors to the world’s first surf shop offering wetsuits, surfboards, surf wax, travel bags, and more. Originally located in his garage, the successful O’Neill shop was relocated from his home, to San Francisco where the business began to boom, to finally Santa Cruz simply because according to Jack, “it had the best waves in California.” The O’Neill Surf Shop is still located at 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz, California.
Although Jack O’Neill has been numerously named the original surf industry innovator and entrepreneur, he does not remotely consider himself a businessman at all. “I’m just a surfer who wanted to build something that would allow me to surf longer,” says O’Neill.
“By having the surf shop and inventing the wetsuit, it was my job to test out my products. I loved my job. My job was to surf.”
In the 1950s, the idea of being paid to surf was not an option. Currently, surfing is part of a $6.24 billion industry, according to a third party research conducted by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA). Starting as a garage-based surf shop and wetsuit brand, O’Neill has evolved to dominate not only with their products but also by sponsoring the world’s best riders in surfing, snowboarding and wakeboarding.
O’Neill’s roster of athletes include some of the world’s biggest phenoms in their respective sports including surfers, Jordy Smith, the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World title contender and defending champion, 18 year old surfing wonder, John John Florence, and Malia Manuel, the youngest contestant to ever win the US Open of Surfing; Other action sport marvels include Snowboarder and X-Game Gold Medal Sebastien Toutant and wakeboarding legend Scott Byerly.
O’Neill has also put their stamp on the fashion industry, with their women’s line and have partnered with supermodel, Elyse Taylor, as the global face and ambassador of the brand through 2012.
Jack O’Neill began with a vision to create an innovative suit and unknowingly he spawned an entire industry. Today, O’Neill is sold in more than 47 countries and is the number one wetsuit brand in the world. The brand is currently carried in core shops, department stores, and other mass retailers world-wide and is known for high-quality goods for men, women and children.
“O’Neill has a 60 year history of developing the industry’s best products,” says Pat O’Neill son of Jack and CEO of O’Neill Wetsuits, “the brand was founded on my dad’s passion to be the ‘first in the water’ and we infuse this belief into each product we produce.”
O’Neill continues their heritage as an innovative brand by introducing revolutionary products to the industry such as the Psychofreak, containing XDS technology making the O’Neill wetsuit the warmest and most flexible in the market; the Hyperfreak boardshort, the first multi-stretch, fast drying boardshort made with hyperstretch fabric; and the revolutionary Superkini, the bikini designed with NANOFRONTÃƒÃƒÃ'Â¢ÃƒÃƒÃ'Â¢ technology, making the Superkini the first to have 200% more grip.
“It was Jack O’Neill’s persistence, vision, and innovation that inspired an industry that has spread globally. It is an honor to be able to tell the story of a man’s journey to perfect a pastime that was once not as celebrated as it is today,” says author Drew Kampion.
Kampion has been a long time veteran of the surf industry serving not only as an author, but as a former editor of Surfer and Surfing magazine and has first handedly experienced the growth and expansion of O’Neill as previously holding the post of advertising director.
“Surfing has been forever evolving since the creation of the wetsuit. Kids now are doing things I would never imagine,” says Jack. Some of the most respected surfers and ocean-oriented icons, including Bruce Brown, Shaun Tomson, Robby Naish, Tom Curren, Fred Van Dyke, Ken “Skindog” Collins, and Jordy Smith help tell the story of “Jack O’Neill, It’s Always Summer on the Inside” by illustrating the appreciation and awe of the passion of one man’s vision to step up the game of surfing.