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Jack O’Neill single-handedly revolutionised surfing in the 1950s.
Without him surfing in cold water would simply not be possible for any length of time, if it wasn’t for his invention of the wetsuit in early 50’s. This ingenious garment single-handedly broke down the barriers allowing dedicated surfers to enjoy waves in the planets coldest conditions.
Jack O’Neill was in San Francisco at that time, where it gets quite cold and drops down below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. He wanted to work on something so that he could enjoy surfing longer.
He got his idea and inspiration by watching elephant seals. He was wondering how they can spend all this time in the water. What is their complex structure that allows them to be in those freezing waters 24/7?
One of his first designs was a vest. He figured out that the core of the body lets out a good portion of the body heat. By realizing to keep chest, back and head warm was a key part of all future developments he came up.
If it wasn’t for Jack O’Neill and his wetsuit, three quarters of the people that surf on the planet wouldn’t be in the water!
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