From Surf to Snow: O’Neill Celebrates 60 Years

Posted By: The Ski Channel on February 10, 2012 5:22 am


O’Neill’s, a leading surf, snow, and youth lifestyle brand, is celebrating their 60th anniversary in the action sports industry. They have officially launched their “60 Years of Innovation” ad campaign honoring founder and passionate surfer Jack O’Neill.

The company was founded in 1952 by O’Neill and rose to success when he pioneered the first neoprene wetsuit the world had ever seen and sold it in his original shop-and the precursor to all other surf shops–in Santa Cruz soon after. Surfing would never be the same.

“Jack O’Neill’s contribution to outdoor sports and the sophistication of O’Neill apparel has been vitally important through the years,” said O’Neill Snow’s Juliet Korver. “Because of his wetsuit invention, O’Neill introduced a new product category, and as a result, created an industry that now spans across the ocean to the mountains, allowing people to stay in the water and on the snow longer.”

The brand is also credited for leading the development of the surf leash, board bag, wetsuit bootie, four-way stretch boardshort, and Superkini (Not to be confused with a mankini or monokini, the Superkini is a regular bikini specifically designed to stay on during water sports.).

The celebration began in October 2011 with the release of a photo biography of Jack’s life, inventions, and business ventures, “It’s Always Summer on the Inside.” It sold out on within three days. In January, the company launched “O’Neil Experience” at, a microsite celebrating winter athletes Sebastian Toutant (Seb Toots), Celia Miller, and other O’Neil Show athletes as they chased the gold in Aspen, Colorado at the 2012 Winter X Games.

Another of their many anniversary events will be a worldwide art exhibit called “60 Years of Innovation Art Tour.” It will start in Australia and make its way through Asia, Europe, South Africa, and the U.S. and will focus on the O’Neill’s contributions and will cover six decades, six innovations, six commissioned artists, six local artists and six charities. Silent auctions at each stop will benefit charities including Surfaid International, Japanese Tsunami Relief and O’Neill’s own Sea Odyssey Foundation.

The list of events continues with the “O’Neill Evolution” snowboard event. This fall, “Further,” the movie sequel to big mountain snowboarding legend Jeremy Jones’ “Deeper,” will be presented by O’Neill and TGR Films. And the 5th annual Generation Next, O’Neill’s well-loved fashion and music event, will be held in San Francisco where one lucky young designer will win the $5,000 scholarship and prestigious internship with the brand.
The anniversary events come to a close in November of this year with the Cold Water Classic in the brand’s town of origin, Santa Cruz. For the first time since the early 90′s, the Cold Water Classic and Steamer Lane will host the 34 best surfers in the world.

“We’re excited to see a World Tour level event return to Santa Cruz as part of O’Neill’s 60 Year anniversary,” said O’Neill Wetsuits President & CEO, Pat O’Neill. “Mainland surfing started in Santa Cruz, Jack O’Neill developed many pioneering surf inventions here and it’s been home to the O’Neill brand for over half a century. With a World Tour event in 2012 and the possibility of the World Champion being crowned, we expect to see an exciting chapter in surfing history written in our front yard.”

Special product offerings for both surf and snow have been created, combing six decades of graphics and classic styling to offer a premium line worthy of the O’Neill name.

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