That’s me jumping (age 21). I’m wearing an old-fashioned wool bathing suit underneath my first wetsuit, a vest from the Dive ‘N Surf shop in La Jolla, Calif., in 1956. This predated O’Neill’s wetsuits. I sent my measurements to Dive ‘N Surf and they mailed me the cut-out parts along with a can of Black Magic glue; I glued the edges together and then glued strips over the seams.
This was an improvement, but we still tried to stay dry as long as possible. On certain swells, we’d jump this 6 to 8 feet down to the water and if done properly, the upper body would stay dry.
Chris Thompson is a filmmaker working on the story of Northern California surfing during the 50s and 60s (a far cry from surfing in the warmer Southern California waters). Recently I loaned him a bunch of my old photos, which he scanned; this is one of them.
A post 9 years ago about that time period in Santa Cruz: https://www.lloydkahn.com/2007/04/14/aloha-dave-devine_14/
Photo by Spike Bullis