SANTA CRUZ, Calif. (AP) - Thousands of surfers have taken to the waters off California in tribute to wetsuit pioneer Jack O'Neill.
Jacks paddle out was unreal! pic.twitter.com/fMKMcZi1c2— Bill Martin (@BillMartinKTVU) July 10, 2017
O'Neill died last month at the age of 94. The Santa Cruz Sentinel reports surfers gathered for a "paddle out" service near O'Neill's cliffside Santa Cruz home. Many of them wore O'Neill wetsuits and eye patches in honor of the covering O'Neill famously donned following a surfing injury.
A paddle out is a traditional way surfers pay tribute following the death of one of their own. It consists of surfers forming a circle in the water and tossing flowers. The Sentinel reports O'Neill's paddle out circle stretched more than a half-mile across.
O'Neill invented the first neoprene wetsuit in the 1950s, allowing surfers to stay longer in cold water.
Information from: Santa Cruz Sentinel, http://www.santacruzsentinel.com