O'Neill, Jack

Low-key and savvy surf industrialist from Santa Cruz, California; founder of O'Neill Wetsuits, the world's leading manufacturer of surfing wetsuits. O'Neill was born (1923) in Denver, Colorado, and raised in Southern California and Oregon. He started bodysurfing in the late 1930s, and continued to do so after moving to San Francisco in 1949, where he got his B.A. in liberal arts from San Francisco State.

O'Neill opened the prosaically titled Surf Shop out of a beachfront garage in San Franci...