Santa Cruz, CA. (October 5, 2009) – The Psychofreak wetsuit by O’Neill received the Surf Industry Manufacturers’ Image Award for the Wetsuit of the Year this past weekend at SIMA Surf Summit 12 in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The SIMA Image Awards identify the surf industry’s most influential companies and recognize them for their efforts to advance and grow the industry.
Determined to make the warmest high performance cold water wetsuit, O’Neill introduced the revolutionary Psychofreak with XDS-Air neoprene in fall 2008. “As the original wetsuit manufacturer it is our blood to push the evolution of the wetsuit,” stated John Hunter, Senior Product Designer at O’Neill Wetsuits. Unlike traditional cold water wetsuits that utilize thicker neoprene, the Psychofreak with O’Neill’s unique XDS-Air neoprene, a complex 3D structure of rubber and trapped air components, provides increased insulation similar to a double paned window without additional thickness or restriction. “The ultimate goal in designing wetsuits is to make them as warm and flexible as possible; we obviously achieved that with the Psychofreak.”
Chosen by fellow surf industry companies and retailers the SIMA Image Awards are a reflection of how brands and their products are viewed within the industry, but more importantly by those selling the product to the customer. “I really want to thank all of our dealers for supporting O’Neill for over fifty-five years and I’m stoked our dealers and customers recognize the difference between a functional innovative wetsuit and all the imitations out there,” stated Pat O’Neill, CEO and President of O’Neill wetsuits. “Our dealers claim O’Neill wetsuits continue to represent seventy to eighty percent of their total wetsuits sales, so I am not surprised the Psychofreak has been recognized as the top wetsuit.”
O’Neill, the original Californian surf, snow and lifestyle brand, was founded in 1952 when a young man named Jack O’Neill took his unstoppable passion for surfing and used it to beat Mother Nature at her own game. Pioneering the world’s first neoprene wetsuit, Jack had successfully found a way to extend his surf sessions in the bone-chilling breaks of Northern California. He opened up the garage doors to his first surf shop in Santa Cruz soon after.
While many things have changed since those humble beginnings, Jack’s initial vision of producing functional and innovative boardriding products continues to lie at the core of everything the company does. O’Neill’s set of core values – innovation in style and technology – has seen the brand devote itself wholeheartedly to the evolution of action sports. From the first ever neoprene wetsuit and surf leash, to the world’s first stitchless boardshorts and range of groundbreaking wearable electronics, O’Neill’s spirit of innovation will always drive the company forwards.
Today, O’Neill can be found the world over. In touch with its rich heritage and the universal stoke of boardriding culture, O’Neill will always be committed to progressing that evolution and growing its reputation as one of the world’s leading youth lifestyle brands.
The Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA) is the official working trade association of more than 300 surf industry suppliers. Founded in 1989, SIMA is a non-profit organization that serves to promote awareness of the surf industry and participation in the sport of surfing through public relations efforts and a variety of services, educational programs and research. In addition, SIMA actively supports oceanic environmental efforts through its 501(c)(3) charitable environmental foundation, the SIMA Environmental Fund. In the past 20 years, SIMA’s Environmental Fund has raised more than $4.9 million for environmental groups seeking to protect the world’s oceans, beaches and waves. The SIMA Humanitarian Fund, also a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation, was established in 2006 to award grants to various surf or boardsport related social and humanitarian non-profit organizations whose efforts are focused on improving the quality of life, health and/or welfare of people. For more information please visit sima.com.