The coffee table book traces journey of Jack O’Neill’s invention of the wetsuit and the evolution of the iconic surf brand
Santa Cruz, CA, September 29, 2011- The maverick, the pioneer, the legendary man behind the wetsuit and first surf shop, Jack O’Neill, celebrates 60 years of pioneering a revolutionary brand that changed the surf industry forever. O’Neill will be releasing a biographical coffee table book following the journey of the man whose passion drove him to create an innovative suit that allowed surfers to be the first in the icy waters of the San Francisco Bay and the last out. The 256-page, hardcover book written by Drew Kampion and published by Chronicle Books will be released on oneilleshop.com and other selected retail shops starting October 1. “Jack O’Neill, It’s Always Summer on the Inside,” will retail for $40 USD with a portion of sales going to Jack’s own non-profit environmental education program, O’Neill Sea Odyssey.
In 1952, Jack O’Neill opened the doors to the world’s first surf shop offering wetsuits, surfboards, surf wax, travel bags, and more. Originally located in his garage, the successful O’Neill shop was relocated from his home, to San Francisco where the business began to boom, to finally Santa Cruz simply because according to Jack, “it had the best waves in California.” The O’Neill Surf Shop is still located at 41st Avenue in Santa Cruz, California.
Although Jack O’Neill has been numerously named the original surf industry innovator and entrepreneur, he does not remotely consider himself a businessman at all. “I’m just a surfer who wanted to build something that would allow me to surf longer,” says O’Neill. “By having the surf shop and inventing the wetsuit, it was my job to test out my products. I loved my job. My job was to surf.”
In the 1950s, the idea of being paid to surf was not an option. Currently, surfing is part of a $6.24 billion industry, according to a third party research conducted by the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA). Starting as a garage-based surf shop and wetsuit brand, O’Neill has evolved to dominate not only with their products but also by sponsoring the world’s best riders in surfing, snowboarding and wakeboarding. O’Neill’s roster of athletes include some of the world’s biggest phenoms in their respective sports including surfers, Jordy Smith, the Association of Surfing Professionals (ASP) World title contender and defending champion, 18 year old surfing wonder, John John Florence, and Malia Manuel, the youngest contestant to ever win the US Open of Surfing; Other action sport marvels include Snowboarder and X-Game Gold Medal Sebastien Toutant and wakeboarding legend Scott Byerly. O’Neill has also put their stamp on the fashion industry, with their women’s line and have partnered with supermodel, Elyse Taylor, as the global face and ambassador of the brand through 2012.
Jack O’Neill began with a vision to create an innovative suit and unknowingly he spawned an entire industry. Today, O’Neill is sold in more than 47 countries and is the number one wetsuit brand in the world. The brand is currently carried in core shops, department stores, and other mass retailers world-wide and is known for high-quality goods for men, women and children.
“O’Neill has a 60 year history of developing the industry’s best products,” says Pat O’Neill son of Jack and CEO of O’Neill Wetsuits, “the brand was founded on my dad’s passion to be the ‘first in the water’ and we infuse this belief into each product we produce.”
O’Neill continues their heritage as an innovative brand by introducing revolutionary products to the industry such as the Psychofreak, containing XDS technology making the O’Neill wetsuit the warmest and most flexible in the market; the Hyperfreak boardshort, the first multi-stretch, fast drying boardshort made with hyperstretch fabric; and the revolutionary Superkini, the bikini designed with NANOFRONT™ technology, making the Superkini the first to have 200% more grip.
“It was Jack O’Neill’s persistence, vision, and innovation that inspired an industry that has spread globally. It is an honor to be able to tell the story of a man’s journey to perfect a pastime that was once not as celebrated as it is today,” says author Drew Kampion.
Kampion has been a long time veteran of the surf industry serving not only as an author, but as a former editor of Surfer and Surfing magazine and has first handedly experienced the growth and expansion of O’Neill as previously holding the post of advertising director.
“Surfing has been forever evolving since the creation of the wetsuit. Kids now are doing things I would never imagine,” says Jack. Some of the most respected surfers and ocean-oriented icons, including Bruce Brown, Shaun Tomson, Robby Naish, Tom Curren, Fred Van Dyke, Ken “Skindog” Collins, and Jordy Smith help tell the story of “Jack O’Neill, It’s Always Summer on the Inside” by illustrating the appreciation and awe of the passion of one man’s vision to step up the game of surfing.
O’Neill, the original California surf, snow and youth 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 core values – innovation in style and technology – have seen the brand devote itself wholeheartedly to the evolution of the action sports lifestyle. 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 progressive spirit will always drive the company forward. For more information, please visit www.oneill.com.
About the O’Neill Sea Odyssey
O’Neill Sea Odyssey (OSO) was founded in 1996 by wetsuit innovator and surfer Jack O’Neill. A living classroom was created on board a 65-foot catamaran sailing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary where 4th – 6th grade students from schools throughout Central California receive hands-on lessons about the marine habitat and the importance of the relationship between the living sea and the environment. The program is conducted on board the catamaran with follow-up lessons at the shore-side Education Center at the Santa Cruz Harbor. It is free of charge, but students earn their way into the program by designing and performing a project to benefit their community.
About Chronicle Books
One of the most admired and respected publishing companies in the U.S., Chronicle Books was founded in 1967 and over the years has developed a reputation for award-winning, innovative books. Recognized as one of the 50 best small companies to work for in the U.S. (and the only independent publisher to receive this award), the company continues to challenge conventional publishing wisdom, setting trends in both subject and format, maintaining a list that includes much admired illustrated books and gift products in design, art, architecture, photography, food, lifestyle, pop culture, and acclaimed children’s titles. Chronicle Books’ objective is to create and distribute exceptional publishing that’s instantly recognizable for its spirit, creativity, and value. For more information about Chronicle Books, visit www.chroniclebooks.com.