THE PIONEER OF SURFING PASSED AWAY THIS SUMMER BUT HIS SPIRIT LIVES ON
He was the pioneer of surfing and the neoprene wetsuit. His passion as well as his technological inventions and developments allowed sports enthusiast worldwide to live out their dreams. For many people, he was and he will always be a hero. On Friday, 2nd June 2017, at the age of 94, the man who was always the first in the water and the last out left the stage, or rather the board forever: Jack O’Neill.
A PASSIONATE SURFER AND OCEAN LOVER
His entire life, Jack O’Neill loved the water, and thousands of people loved him. And they still do so. O’Neill isn’t just the name of an innovative sports and fashion brand.
It stands for a passionate surfer, ocean lover, boating enthusiast, wetsuit pioneer, balloonist, and founder of the iconic worldwide surf company O’Neill.
Furthermore, the name is a symbol for a strong commitment in many areas. Within the last years, Jack O’Neill showed particularly young people the beauty as well as the vulnerability of the ocean. He was addicted to the sea.
A WORLDWIDE PADDLE OUT FOR JACK O’NEILL
Therefore, in the beginning of July, thousands of surfers came together around the globe to honor their idol with a touching memorial ceremony. The global Paddle Out united more than 3500 surfers across 5 continents. Thus, it was the biggest floating mourning ceremony ever.
As he certainly had wished, the celebration was full of respect and sorrow, but also joy and thankfulness for the world without limitations that O’Neill has opened for the people.
Of course, Jacks home place, Santa Cruz, was the center spot of all Paddle Outs. Here, the surfboards and boats, floating in a stunning circle on the water, attracted many spectators. They lined the cliffs and beach.
The other Paddle Outs took place simultaneously in Australia, Portugal, England, Belgium, France, The Netherlands, and South Africa.
Also in Japan, people paid tribute to the life and adventures of Jack O’Neill with a giant ‘circle of love’.
Jack’s family was on board of his legendary sailing yacht in the center of the ‘circle of love’. The former worlds champion and close friend Shaun Tomson was with them.
He honored O’Neill as pioneer and founder of the surf industry:
“All of us out here, had some of the best moments of our lives in the water – where we have waited to catch the perfect wave that brought us exactly there where we should be”.
“I JUST WANTED TO SURF LONGER”
This simple quote changed the world of water sports forever. More than 60 years after it has been pronounced, people are still thanking the author. Jack O’Neill, who has been at the origin of the oldest surf brand in history, is still a source of inspiration for today’s water and winter sports lovers. Read more how the invention of the first neoprene wetsuit has motivated the following creations of the first historical surf shop, revolutionizing the way millions of riders can share their common passion. VALEUR MAGAZINE no 26