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Dive pioneer and surf icon Bob Meistrell dies

Bob and Bill Meistrell. Courtesy of bodyglove.com

Bob Meistrell, cofounder of Body Glove has died aged 84. Meistrell reportedly died from a heart attack aboard his boat, Disappearance, near Catalina Island, California.

With twin brother Bill, who predeceased him in 2006, they created the first commercially viable neoprene wetsuit from their ‘Dive n’ Surf’ store, believed the world’s oldest, in the early 1950s. The exposure suits were marketed under the banner of Body Glove and quickly became one of the world’s most trusted wetsuit brands, especially among surfers. Body Glove celebrates its 60th anniversary this fall.

Bob was also the first person to become a certified scuba instructor in Los Angeles County, in 1955, the first to produce customized wetsuits for the U.S. Navy in 1957, and worked with Lloyd Bridges on the television series Sea Hunt, in 1958, which played a seminal role in the overall growth and popularity of the sport of SCUBA diving.

He remained an active diver throughout his life, making a 172-foot (52m) dive on his 81st birthday. He had planned the dive to 162 feet (49m) and afterwards said, “Normally I don’t dive that deep. I just wanted to double my birthday (age), one for my brother and one for me.”

“He lived his life to the fullest doing what he loved and where he wanted to be, friend Bernie Campoli said. An Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences award winner, Campoli said Bob was, “One of the best men ever… my sincerest and heartfelt condolences go out to his family.”

Body Glove remains a family-owned business. Visit Body Glove here.

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Dive n' Surf 1953. Courtesy of bodyglove.com

 

 

 

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