Today was a beautiful day as it was my sister's birthday but when I arrived home tonight when a text came thru from Photographer Bob Barbour in Santa Cruz notifying me that we had lost another legend JACK ONEILL. I have such fond memories of what Jack did for our sport as he revolutionized the wetsuit industry. As a kid growing up in LA in the late 1970's and into the 1980's staring at issues every month of SURFING MAGAZINE was when wetsuits began to explode with color. It was that memory of seeing photographs of Shaun Tomson surfing Hawaii and other places wearing his colorful yellow vest.
Jack was the one who gave it all to us as he was creating a warming device for all surfers who needed that extra layer in northern California. I still also remember the wetsuit that he had made the white almost leather texture sleeves over a dark navy body. It allowed us surfers in SoCal to unzip the sleeves and remove them and we just thought we were so cool. It was also seeing the images of the OC crew wearing their TEAM O'NEILL wetsuits which also were branded on the chest for the team. It's all these memories that not only myself has but Im sure many other people have as well.
His loss is very sad yet he did live a long life of 94 and in our eyes Jack left us with all surfers feeling like rebels in our colors as we were all the kids in the 1980's to be part of that special revolution and evolution time period and thats why I continue to honor this history with L&F, because its these memories that don't go away because they are burned into our souls. And thats what surfing does.
In todays world, what happened to all the cool companies??