We Pay Homage To Jack O’Neill

For it was he who lit the torch.

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The beard, the eye-patch, the legend. For over 60 years this Blackbeard incarnate made it his life’s work to protect surfers from the bitter cold. His name was Jack O’Neill: pioneer of the modern day surfing wetsuit. While he had the neoprene game all sewn up by 1952 – consider the now, the 21st century – where we can slide the Tundra in our hood and boots, happy as slush puppies. It’s all thanks to Jack, the man who wore many a hat at the helm of O’Neill: surfer, sailor, inventor, outdoorsman, balloonist and spiritual leader, to name a few. A legendary waterman, who’s life is celebrated in the above capture from O’Neill. The release coincides with a series of paddle outs around the globe from Santa Cruz to South Africa, to Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, France and Japan. For Sydney crew this will take place on the Northern Beaches at Freshwater Beach, Monday, July 10 at 7:30am. All are welcome to attend this tribute to one of our surfing icons.

Read the full story of Jack O’Neill by Tim Baker in SW #388, available now.

Hugh Wyllie