Any one that has ever pulled a thin piece of rubber over their shoulders so that they can paddle out into the cold pounding surf has Jack O’neill to thank for making that secession possible. His little shop in San Francisco is now a multimillion-dollar empire, but that wasn’t why Jack O’Neill began. He just wanted to stay warm. “I’m just as surprised by this as anyone,” O’Neill says. “I was just messing around with rubber.”
Jack O’Neill was born in Denver, Colorado, in 1923 and was raised in Portland, Oregon. It wasn’t long before he and his family moved to Southern California. He wandered as a lad, working as a lumberjack, serving in the Army Air Corps and then moving to San Francisco in 1949. Living in San Francisco, O’Neill earned a living as a commercial fisherman, then sold architectural aluminum, fire extinguishers and skylights. He loved the ocean and sneaked away to it at every opportunity, even taking his lunch breaks down at Ocean Beach, bodysurfing in bathing trunks in the briny cold, often alone or with the odd diehard.
Jack O’Neill started his empire when he began experimenting with materials that would prevent him from, quite literally, freezing his nuts off. It all started when he began by stuffing flexible polyvinyl chloride (PVC) into bathing trunks “borrowed” from the Sutro Baths or Fleishacker Pool. Those worked well enough for Jack to begin a family with his wife, Marge. But early wetsuits took a huge step forward when a scientist friend showed O’Neill a sample of neoprene foam.
Before Jack O’Neill, surfing in Northern California’s chilly waters was a rugged sport practiced by hardy men. It was he who kept searching for a practical way to keep warm, and it was he who worked persistently to develop the modern neoprene wetsuit, one of the most important innovations in surfing history. Other individuals have also contributed to the evolution of the wetsuit, but Jack O’Neill is the man perhaps most responsible for surfing’s endless summer.
image via B9 on you tube
Recycled plastic soda bottles are now showing up in everything from toothbrushes to park benches to jackets and now they are even being molded into the 2009 Platinum B9 (b9 = pronounced “benign”) wetsuit by Billabong. These suits claim to be as good for your body as they are for the environment. Check out the video from youtube.
Ever need an excuse to go surfing? Well on June 2oth you finally have one. International surfing day created by Surfing Magazine, this unofficial, official surfers holiday gives us to promote and celebrate the sport while bringing awareness to the state of our oceans and beaches.
The goal is simple, take the day, or at least part of the day to go down to your favorite surf spot to catch a wave or two, or watch your your favorite agro local grom snake you, whatever it takes. While your at it take some time to clean up your local beach. Surfrider Foundation will be organizing a hand full of official beach cleanups, but that shouldnâ€™t stop you from fixing up your own stretch of sand.
Join ISD at http://www.surfingmagazine.com/isd/
“If we are going to get this thing off of the ground then we had to find a place to start.” says one of the founders of the Kelp Bed Project. Three guys from three different industries. One from a web designer and project manager background, the other a sales rep for action sport brands and the third from a recycled apparel distributor and retailer background. They all run their own independent companies but that isn’t the only thing that they have in common. “I think all of us have bean surfing for over 30 years.” says RC “We had all been wanting to interlude some kind of project with surfing and distribution. But not just any distribution, we wanted to make a difference with what we did and how we ran the business. After getting together for a morning surf / brainstorming session the concept came together. ”
Retailers took a huge hit during the past holiday seasons, clothing brands and product distributors also took a hit as retailers cut back and canceled orders. Warehouses were stuck with way more overstock product than they were accustomed to as the retailers adjusted to the new economy “recession”. The Kelp Bed Project interacts with different brands and finds ways to distribute their overstock product through charities or outreaches to different communities. “There are so many people in need, and with earthquakes and natural disasters becoming pretty consistent in today’s planet, too many people need immediate supplies and there are not as many organizations out there as you might think to access what is needed.” said LC an active member in the Kelp Bed Project, ” The KB not only feels the gap between the large distribution companies and the shirtless kids in the streets of El Salvador, but they have all kinds of resources and outlets to raise awareness and gather funds for local people in need as well”
What started with outsourcing new surfboards that were turning yellow as they sat in a warehouse, has gained momentum into New Sustainable business model changing minds as to how overstock product from our personal closets to distribution warehouses should be handled. We look foward to what the guys at The Kelp Bed Project come up with next.
The worlds first commercial wave farm was launched live at the end of September in Agucadoura. Located a few miles off of the coast of Portugal. Designed by Pelamis Wave Power, the farm employs three Wave Energy Converters – snakelike, semi-submerged devices that generate electricity with hydraulic rams driven by waves. This first phase of the new renewable energy farm is rated at 2.25 MW with 3 machines, and the the second phase will add an additional 25 machines to bring the capacity to 21 MW – enough to power 15,000 homes!
According to an article written in Inhabitat by Bridgette Steffen last month, “Pelamis Wave Energy Converters are tethered to the ocean floor by cables and are pointed perpendicular to the coastline. Each device is composed of several sections connected with articulated joints. As the waves roll in past the device, each section is driven up and down, while the hydraulic rams inside resist the motion. This resistance pumps high pressure fluid through hydraulic motors, which drive electric generators, thereby producing electricity. This electricity is then transmitted via underwater cables to the mainland.”