Santa Cruz, California

1950s – The Wetsuit Was Invented By World War II Veteran Jack O’Neill

In the 1950s, after serving as a U.S. Navy fighter pilot during World War II, Jack O’Neill developed a wetsuit which made “cold-water surfing” popular. In 1959, after acquiring word wide acclaim for his invention, Jack O’Neill opened a surf shop in Santa Cruz, California.

The building where the original O’Neill surf store was located was demolished. In the place of the former surf shop a Jack O’Neill Restarunt was established.

Photograph of Jack O’Neill at the balcony of his home in 2006.

On June 7, 2017, Jack O’Neill passed away, at the age of 94, at his beachfront home in Santa Cruz, California.

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