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9’0 O’Neill Santa Cruz “Love Craft” model board from 1968. This board was fully restored by a surfboard restoration expert with over 30 years of glassing experience.
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O’Neill lost sight in his left eye in 1971 after his leash-tethered surfboard snapped back and hit his face; the surf leash, ironically, had been invented the year before by Pat O’Neill, Jack’s son. (A stylized piratelike image of O’Neill with a full beard and eye patch would later be used as the company logo.) O’Neill was by that time the consummate behind-the-scenes operator of what was turning into a small international empire, hiring talented managers so that he could continue to surf and sail around Santa Cruz. He 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 alive—the “rubber baron,” as surf journalist Ben Marcus later called him.
O’Neill was inducted into the International Surfing Hall of Fame in 1991 and the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in 1998. Surfer magazine in 1999 named him as one of the “25 Most Influential Surfers of the Century,” and in 2000 he was given the Waterman Achievement Award from the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association.
Read the full article @ Matt Warshaw’s Encyclopedia of Surfing… http://encyclopediaofsurfing.com/entries/oneill-jack