Wetsuit Pioneer Jack O’Neill passes away at 94

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Jack O'Neill from Santa Cruz CA founder of the O'Neill wetsuit brand passed away on June 3rd
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The founder of one of the largest surfing legacies, O’Neill wetsuits, and the man who kept us all  warm in the surf for many a winter, Jack O’Neill passed away last Friday, June 2nd.  He was 94.

Jack O'Neil wetsuits
Jack O’Neill of O’Neill wetsuits, the owner and founder of the brand, passes away at 94.

In 1952, Jack O’Neill founded the O’Neill brand largely out of a determination to stay out surfing in Northern Cal. a little longer. He’s the one who experimented with various materials and played with design until he fashioned the neoprene wetsuit as we know it today.  He is credited by many as the inventor of the first wetsuits in the 1950’s.

It’s a sad day for surfing,” said Ken ‘Skindog’ Collins when he heard the news this past Friday.

Jack O’Neill is the reason most of us are able to surf into the winter months and stay out in the water longer than we would be able to survive without going hypothermic or otherwise.  His brand and his logo is plastered on every street sign on every surf break from Cardiff to Ditch Plains.  The house that Jack built is large and, in some ways, it includes us all.

Aloha and thank you, to the legend that made surfing the year-round, cold water sport that it is today.

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Evelyn O'Doherty, editor & publisher of the new Standup Journal 2.0 is a former school teacher gone rogue. She left her career as a teacher in order to spend more time near or on the water after learning to surf turned her life around (upsidedown?). She is a year-round surfer and paddler living on the eastern tip of Long Island in NY who is a certified SUP instructor, seasoned SUP racer and avid longboard surfer. Evelyn was hired as Online Editor to Standup Journal in 2016. Her passion for the project quickly led to her success and eventually taking over the mag herself in Oct. 2018. Today, as editor, publisher and chief bottle washer at Standup Journal, Evelyn keeps her toes wet writing, traveling, paddling, surfing, and learning to foil. You can find her most days paddling out on Gardiner's Bay or surfing Ditch Plains in Montauk, NY.