Watch This: Jack O’Neill

Jack O’Neill, trail blazer, inventor of the wetsuit, is one of those cultural figures who manages to transgress boundaries, beyond the notion of brand to the heady realm of surfing pioneer. When Jack O’Neill passed away in June, surfing lost one of its most iconic figures.

Screen writers and London Surf / Film Festival founders Demi Taylor and Chris Nelson were honoured to be asked to tell the story of Jack O’Neill, working with award winning filmmaker Peter Hamblin and the team at Hamblin Imagery to produce a tribute to a man that not only changed  surfing forever but impacted the wider world.

In creating a barrier to the cold he opened up new possibilities and new places, taking us with him. Thinking what if? Why not? Let’s go!

“In telling the story of Jack O’Neill’s life, we knew we wanted to share both the big moments and the intimate details,” says Chris Nelson. “We talked story with some of those who knew Jack well and The Narrator’s journey aims to capture Jack’s spirit, his ethos, and his philosophy, sharing not only Jack’s leaps of innovation and imagination, but those elements of his life that helped shape the man.”

I knew a man that changed the world. Well the world that I know.  That world? It’s that plane that we, as surfers, occupy. That line between sea and sky. And we’re held there by these invisible forces, Fluid Mechanics, surface tension, and that need for just one more. It binds us, with a flat-lock stitch. And it’s that zone, that fluid seam between the ocean and the mountains. It’s in those wild margins, between high and low – that we exist.

Jack O'Neill - surfer, innovator, inventor of the wetsuit

Produced by Hamblin Imagery Ltd

Director – Peter Hamblin
Writers – Chris Nelson and Demi Taylor
Producer – Frankie Fogg
Editor – Sam Dewar
Animator – Richard Tilley 

Jack O'Neill invented the wetsuit - a barrier to the cold that opened up new possibilities