The first diving suit was invented in the 1950s. In1952, a physicist named Hugh Bradner from the University of California, Berkeley camp up with the idea to create wetsuit. He was working to further improve the equipment used by US Navy frogmen. The idea was to help & extend dives in cold water. 

Bradner argues that as long as the fabric of the wetsuit is insulated, a tiny layer of trapped water between the fabric of the wetsuit and the skin can work as an insulator when heated by body warmth. Willard Bascom, a research engineer at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, proposed neoprene as a wetsuit material.

In 1951, Bascom and Brandner sought to patent their diving suit design, but their application was denied. The United States Navy was similarly uninterested in their neoprene wetsuits, citing fears that air bubbles in the neoprene would make Navy divers more susceptible to sonar detection. Bradner later founded EDCO to sell wetsuits to the general public, but it wasn't very successful.

In 1953, American businessman Bob Meistrell and his brother made an investment in Bev Morgan's Dive 'N' Surf, the surf store in Redondo Beach. Morgan discovered a rejected military neoprene wetsuit design and decided to sell it through his own business. They were not popular at first, but that changed in 1959 with the release of the film Gidget. The film, based on Frederick Kohner's book of the same name, portrays the actual story of the surfing culture at Malibu Point through the eyes of the heroine, Kathy. The film popularised diving, and Morgan's goods sales increased as a result.

In addition, in the 1960s, Meistrell founded the well-known diving accessory firm Body Glove and released an increasing number of professional items for surfers and divers. Today, the Meistrell family still controls 25% of Body Glove.


In truth, most people regard Jack O'Neill as the inventor of the wetsuit, and he is frequently featured in the media as having invented the wetsuit. Despite this, historians believe Bradner invented it, despite the fact that O'Neill designed and produced more wetsuits over a 60-year span than any other business. Born in 1923, he began surfing in the 1930s, served as a Navy pilot during WWII, and eventually founded one of California's earliest surf shops. He learned about neoprene, an insulating and warming material, from his friend Harry Hind, who is also a surfing enthusiast. In 1952, he established the now-famous "O'Neal" firm.