Jack O’Neill opens the first surf shop in 1952 off The Great Highway, San Francisco. He later invents the neoprene wetsuit through experimentation with WWII diving vests. An entire industry is born.
The O’Neill brand moves from San Francisco to Santa Cruz and goes full force into the wetsuit business, expanding the line to feature different styles and a women’s fit.
The split-toe surf bootie allows for a more natural feel on the board, becoming a standard design that would be copied for decades to follow. The invention of the rash guard becomes just as prominent, allowing for a more comfortable surf experience.
With wetsuit durability and comfort being a primary focus, O’Neill uses the best available materials to create the Animal Wetsuit. It is the first to feature knee pads, a key design aspect that eventually expands to every model.
O’Neill Hybrid shorts are released, creating a walkshort that is as comfortable on land as in the water. Superfreak Series boardshorts push the boundaries of stretch fabrication with the addition of a neoprene panel, allowing surfers more freedom of movement than ever before.
O’Neill releases the Hyperfreak Series wetsuit featuring Technobutter neoprene, the lightest and most flexible material on the market. The Hyperfreak Hydro featuring the “No Tie Fly” closure system changes the game in boardshort design, maximising comfort and security in the water.
O’Neill introduces the award-winning Hyperfreak Fire Series wetsuit powered by TB4, the next evolution of Technobutter neoprene, utilising recycled yarns infused with graphene for increased wear strength, unrivalled flexibility and heat retention.