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Summer on the Inside

Fistral, UK, 1964
1953 wetsuit designed by Hugh Bradner
Jack O'Neill. Photo: Drew Kampion
Bev Morgan, early 1960s, the Wedge
Mickey Munoz, 1964. Photo: Bev Morgan

Polyurethane foam reinvented surfboard manufacturing, but it wasn’t the sport’s greatest midcentury technological development. The world’s best board, after all, wasn’t much good to a surfer standing on a winter beach palsied with cold. On a lot of days, in a lot of places, this was the inevitable coda to each and every wave-riding session. Yes, polyurethane foam was a modern wonder. But the surfing wetsuit? That was a godsend.

In yet another case of better surfing through war-related petroch...

Yes, the polyurethane foam board was a modern wonder. But the surfing wetsuit? That was a godsend.