I discovered the joys of SUP during the summer of 2011, every time the temperatures rise I go back to standing up on a board, but in Belgium that’s like limited to 16 days of me wanting to get anywhere near the North Sea… I was brought up in Venezuela you see, that means warm tropical waters all year round. I lived there till the age of 13 so there’s no way I could’ve grown on a thick skin as there’s no way you’ll see me swimming too much in the according to me coldest of seas… However times they are a-changing as I recently visited O’Neill’s hometown Santa Cruz to experience the joys of “being warm on the inside” forever and ever!
"It's always summer on the inside"
So… Forget about Balenciaga (did I really just say that?), neoprene dresses all of sudden come in second place when you experience the real O’Neill neoprene deal and certainly when you sit down and listen to Mister John Hunter who talks about wetsuits as if his life depended on it. An extremely inspiring chat it was, but of course there was more... as O’Neill had plans to get us out there into the cold, just for the sake of really feeling what the legacy & heritage of the brand is all about.
John Hunter showing us the Zen Zip Closure which stops water from seeping onto your back... just one of the many innovations by O'Neill
Jack O’Neill invented his first wetsuit back in the ‘50’s when all he wanted was to be able to surf as long as he could. He was not thinking about big dollar signs nor was he thinking about a revolutionary invention… nope, he was just focusing on outsmarting nature by beating the cold waters. Wetsuits ever since Jack’s first invention have come a long way and through years of testing and being out there in extreme conditions the technicality of an O’Neill wetsuit has evolved and developed. It’s a mix of great quality, great fit and optimal functionality. Mister Hunter had me from the very beginning, as his tales explaining certain inventions were captivating and inspiring all the way.
I have absolutely no pics of me looking like an unfashionable seal; just kidding I would never deprive you from a great laugh! So besides me looking like a flappering mammal, I also have the memory of me feeling totally safe and comfortably hot in the chilly waters of the Pacific Ocean. And guess what, after excessive testing I’ve been converted (didn’t take me that long) and I’m now the proud owner of an O’Neill wetsuit which I plan to use from the minute spring hits our little country.