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Beach Grit

Watch: A Touching Jack O’neill Tribute!

Michael Ciaramella

by Michael Ciaramella

And kudos to O'Neill (the company) for this masterpiece!

As every BeachGrit reader should know, Jack O’Neill, founder of the O’Neill wetsuits franchise, died recently.

While sad, the man was 94 years old and had lived an incredible life. There was really nothing left for him to do in this world.

Today I stumbled upon a tribute video for Ol’ Man Jack. While usually touching, the typical tribute video tends to be corny and in that way not-very-Beachgrit. This one is different.

And, wow — right? O’Neill (the company) put some serious thought, effort, and probably money into this seven-minute spectacle. I found it informative and engaging. Would even watch it again.

I admittedly knew very little about Jack before watching this clip, but it inspired me to do further research on the man.

Where, you ask?

The only place with historically salient information on every prominent surf figure not named Reno Abellira. Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing!

My favorite stanza: [O’Neill] never brought attention to himself, and on the rare event when he spoke to the surf press he modestly attributed his success to little more than good timing. Industry insiders, however, regard O’Neill as perhaps the coolest and shrewdest surf businessman aliveā€”the “rubber baron,” as surf journalist Ben Marcus later called him.

Read the rest here (for a measly $3 fee)!

Or just watch the video and bask in the wonderful life Jack O’Neill.