The O’Neill brand started life in 1952 when our founder, Jack O’Neill began designing
and producing the world’s first neoprene wetsuits out of the world’s first surf shop -
a humble garage off the Great Highway, San Francisco.
Word of Jack’s craftsmanship in both shaping boards and designing wetsuits soon spread with surfers from all over the world keen to get their hands on his designs in order to be able to surf better, for longer. Before long Jack’s satisfied customers included windsurfers, divers, water skiers and snow skiers. As the business continued to grow and evolve, Jack got all his six kids involved in the manufacturing and marketing process.
By the 1980s Jack O’Neill’s trailblazing workshop had become a respected and much-loved international surf brand, leading the lifestyle sportswear markets in the U.S, Europe and Japan.
Throughout every step of the O’Neill journey, Jack, his family and his team have stayed true to their mission. To produce the finest, most robust, enduring and stylish surf and sportswear clothing and accessories possible. To work with innovators and enthusiasts. To push the technical boundaries of what sports clothing can do so we can all explore and enjoy the natural world for longer.
The future health and promotion of adventure sports remain at the heart of the O’Neill brand and we continue to sponsor and support new and upcoming surfers, kiters, snowboarders, and skiers as well as established, high-profile athletes.
The O’Neill ethos is simple. We believe that life is good and we are committed to living and behaving ethically and responsibly in everything we do. Alongside the Ocean Sea Odyssey, our free educational program, he O’Neill supports a wide range of environmental protection projects as part of Our Ocean Mission.
We know that this is an ever-changing, always evolving journey and we are committed to making meaningful progress towards protecting our precious planet so it can be enjoyed for many years to come. We work collaboratively and without judgement. Supporting and encouraging others in their efforts to leave the world as beautiful, diverse and healthy as we found it.
The First Surfshop and the first wetsuit
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.
Move to Santa Cruz
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 supersuit wetsuit
O’Neill begins experimenting with the Supersuit
wetsuit and surf leash. Both take hold and push
the boundaries of innovation within the surf and
Neoprene Snow Pants
Neoprene makes its first appearance in the snow.
The Surf Bootie & Rash GuardThe 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.
The Animal Wetsuit
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.
Hybrids & Superfreak Boardshorts
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.
As part of their Ocean Mission, O’Neill introduces
O’Neill Blue. An initiative to create sustainable
casual and performance wear in order to reduce
their impact on the environment.
The Hyperfreak Series
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, maximizing comfort
and security in the water.
A TRUE PIONEER
Our founder, Jack O’Neill was a true ocean pioneer and a passionate and dedicated
surfing enthusiast. His original mission for designing and producing the world’s first
neoprene surfwear was that he simply “wanted to surf for longer”.
Jack’s unique approach and his zest for life revolutionised the world of surfing. He began by shaping boards and selling board wax before setting his sights on producing insulated surf vests that would help him and his fellow surfers endure the icy waters of the northern Californian coast.
Before too long, Jack’s ambitions grew to designing the first neoprene wetsuit available anywhere on the market - and so, the world began to truly get to know Jack O’Neill as one of the leading innovators of the international surfing world.
Jack remains the source of inspiration to many thousands of surfers and sports enthusiasts around the globe. Jack’s mission was to be a force for good in everything that he did. He channelled his energy, knowledge, enthusiasm and creativity into each and every design and venture. His ambition extended way beyond the O’Neill clothing ranges.
In 1985, after heading the brand’s operations in Europe and Japan, Jack passed the reins to his son, Pat, and focused for a while on a variety of environmental projects and surfing the waves once more.
In 1996 Jack set up the O’Neill Sea Odyssey program (OSO), a free, ground-breaking marine and environmental education program designed to encourage others - particularly young people from deprived backgrounds - to gain a deeper understanding of the ocean world and play their part in its protection. The OSO has gone from strength to strength and is proud to now welcome over 100,000 students. Jack said that the OSO was the thing he had been most proud of in his eventful and admirable life.
His legacy lives on through his environmental work, his pioneering designs and the community of surfers and natural world enthusiasts that he has inspired throughout the world.
Born from California surf, we create leading-edge products for active
and adventurous spirits to enjoy our playground longer. The original
We have a winning mindset. We see obstacles as opportunities. We thrive on change and adapt to it. We keep going until we have reached our goals.
We are part of a community. Everybody is invited and truly welcome to join.
We are constantly pioneering, experimenting, reinventing ourselves, striving to become better.
We are active people. We are full of positive energy. We never stop. Always going for the extra mile.
We have a natural drive to take care of each other, our product,
our planet and our brand. Together, we will do our part.