IF you live more than a few degrees north or south of the equator, at some point during the year you'll be donning the rubber to prolong your water time.
All Jack O'Neill wanted to do was surf for a bit longer, spend a few more minutes patrolling the lineup at Ocean Beach, San Francisco, a break which loves those cold Aleutian storm systems. Innovation was, as is often the case, borne of necessity and a rough PVC surf vest preceded the adoption of neoprene. A material which switched on the light and commenced the progressive development of the suit as we now know and reply upon.
Sure if Jack hadn't pushed on then someone would have done eventually, but he is the wetsuit pioneer and 2012 marks 60 years since he cobbled together that first vest. Without getting too misty-eyed over it, every surfer shrugging into that thermo-lined 600% xtraflex neoprene washed in virgin bamboo water owes Jack a debt of gratitude.
To celebrate these 60 years they've released a free e-book which takes you right through those pioneer days up until your next session. Wrap your red salty eyes around it here
. © 2013 O'Neill