Photo: O’Neill

The Inertia

On Sunday, July 9th and Monday, July 10th, surfers all over the world will gather to celebrate the life and adventures of industry pioneer Jack O’Neill. The wetsuit company has organized a global memorial paddle out to take place in eight different countries across two days, from Jeffrey’s Bay, where the WSL prepares to kick off the 2017 Corona Pro JBay, to Jack’s hometown in Santa Cruz, California.

For the South Africa edition, those wishing to pay tribute to the pioneer of the modern day wetsuit are encouraged to join Jordy Smith at the Lower Point Car Park in Jeffreys Bay on Monday 10 July at 8.30 am, for a 9:00 am paddle out. Meanwhile, the service in Santa Cruz will take place within plain sight of O’Neill’s iconic home atop the cliffs of East Cliff Drive, at  Pleasure Point.

Jack O’Neill, surfer, ocean lover, wetsuit pioneer, sailor, balloonist, and founder of the iconic worldwide surf company O’Neill, passed away in Santa Cruz, California, of natural causes at the age of 94. Most recognizable for his eye patch and his beard, Jack’s desire to surf longer drove him to create an innovative suit that allowed surfers to enjoy waves in the icy waters near San Francisco. Playing around with materials to create a barrier between the body and the ocean, Jack’s first suits were built of unicellular foam material that he bought from a local surplus store. The invention was monumental—it made surfing a year-round activity in cold water areas and welcomed a new mass of people who previously didn’t surf. Those first suits led to more surfers, more fans, and the eventual acceptance of surfing in popular culture.

Honoree paddle outs are scheduled in the United States, Canada, the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, France, South Africa, Australia, and Japan, with the full list of scheduled events below:


Jack O’Neill Paddle Out – France
Sun 19:00 UTC+02
Plage De La Chambre D’amour, Anglet
Anglet, France

Jack O’Neill Paddle Out – Holland
Sun 19:00 UTC+02
Scheveningen Beach Stadion
Scheveningen, Netherlands

Jack O’Neill Paddle Out – Belgium
Sun 19:00 UTC+02
Surfers Paradise
Knokke-Heist, Belgium


Jack O’Neill Paddle Out – UK
Sun 18:30
Great Western Beach

Jack O’Neill Paddle Out – Canada
Sun 10:30 PDT
Cox Bay
Tofino, BC, Canada

Jack O’Neill Paddle Out – Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Sun 11:00 PDT
Santa Cruz/pleasure point, California

JUL 10
Jack O’Neill Paddle Out – Australia
Mon 7:30 UTC+10
Freshwater Beach
Manly, NSW, Australia

JUL 10
Jack O’Neill Paddle Out – J-Bay, South Africa
Mon 8:30 UTC+02
Point Beach Jeffreys Bay
Jeffrey’s Bay, South Africa

For further information on the Jack O’Neill paddle out in South Africa please contact Paul Canning – paul.c@sectorgroup.co.za 



Only the best. We promise.


Join our community of contributors.