Bob Meistrell, pioneer of wet suits, dies at 84

Bob Meistrell during an expedition in the 1950s.
Bob Meistrell during an expedition in the 1950s.Body Glove International

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NEW YORK — Bob Meistrell, who began making wet suits for surfers and scuba divers in the early 1950s and with his twin brother, Bill, founded Body Glove, one of the world’s largest wet-suit companies, died Sunday in Catalina, Calif. He was 84 and lived in Redondo Beach.

Mr. Meistrell died after having a heart attack while working on his boat, Jenna Meistrell, a grandniece and Body Glove’s communications director, said.

Before the advent of wet suits, surfers and divers endured frigid ocean water with only oil-soaked wool sweaters to protect them. Early wet suits, first created in 1951 for the Navy by Hugh Bradner, a physicist at the University of California, Berkeley, were ungainly.

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