Body Glove

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Body Glove International, LLC
Type Subsidiary
Industry Sporting Goods
Founded 1953
Founders Bill Meistrell & Robert Meistrell
Headquarters Redondo Beach, California, U.S.
Key people

Robert Meistrell, CEO

Russell Lesser, President
Revenue US$10.90 Million (2007) [1]
Employees 51 (2007) [2]
Parent Dive N' Surf Corporation (Private company)
Website Body Glove

Body Glove International, LLC is a surf/skateboard/watersports brand started in the United States. Body Glove was founded in 1953 by twin brothers Bill and Bob Meistrell. The brothers invented the first practical wetsuit in the early 1950s in the back of their Redondo Beach, California surf shop, Dive N' Surf. From those wetsuits Body Glove branched out into other product categories, they now make wetsuits, swimsuits, clothing, shoes, life vests, sunglasses, wakeboards, towables, backpacks, phone cases, and snorkeling equipment.

History[edit]

Body Glove was started by identical twins in Missouri, Bob and Bill Meistrell. Moving to Manhattan Beach in California in 1944, they became interested in surfing, and were one of the first to put fiberglass on the nose of their surfboards to protect the foam filled plywood boards. In 1953, they found the insulation used in the back of refrigerators, neoprene, worked well for the first practical wet suits. Bob and Bill borrowed $1800 from their mother and each bought one third of the local sports shop called Dive N' Surf.

The Meistrells designed and tailored their own brand of wetsuits. In the beginning the wetsuits were named Thermocline. The Meistrells didn't think this was a great name so they hired a marketing consultant, Duke Boyd. Duke asked about the characteristics of the suits and Billy said, "They fit like a glove," so Duke came up with the name Body Glove.

They were among the very first crop of South Bay lifeguards.

The company's headquarters is in Redondo Beach, California.[1]

Founders[edit]

Founders Bill and Bob Meistrell outside of Dive N' Surf

Bill Meistrell was a pioneering waterman and lifeguard.

Bill and twin brother Bob are two of the three watermen named to both the surfing and diving halls of fames. Bill and Bob were born in Boonville, Missouri; Bill on July 30, 1928, and Bob 20 minutes later on July 31. Bill and Bob started diving as kids in the farm's pond using an oilcan for a helmet and a bicycle pump and a hose for air. Bill and Bob had big dreams as Missouri farm-boys. Bob Meistrell explains, "We had three goals when we were small boys: own a submarine; go deep-sea diving; and treasure-hunting. Somehow we managed all three."

A former business partner murdered their father when the twins were only four years old. Bill and Bob moved to Manhattan Beach with their mother, two brothers and three sisters in 1942. Bill attended Redondo Union High School and graduated from El Segundo High School in 1947. Bill, a Korean War veteran, was awarded the Bronze Star. Bill and Bob were among first crop of Los Angeles County Ocean Lifeguards in the 1940s and were among the first generation of California surfers and divers.

Bill bought into their retail store Dive N' Surf in Redondo Beach in 1953 with brother Bob, surfboard maker Hap Jacobs, and surfer and diver Bev Morgan. Dive N' Surf was the first and is the oldest surf and dive shop of its kind in the South Bay of Los Angeles. Bill and Bob became sole owners in 1958. Bill, Bob and partner Morgan, are best known for inventing (in 1953) the first practical wetsuit, which revolutionized surfing and diving. Body Glove's boned-hand, which Bill helped design, is one of the most globally recognized brand logos.

Body Glove's success was not lost on Hollywood. Hired to consult, they provided equipment and custom wetsuits for Sea Hunt, the television show that made Lloyd Bridges a star. The custom wetsuit sported by Bridges was integral to his character. They have been involved in dozens of movies since. Bill and Bob taught the Bridges family to dive, as well as Gary Cooper, Hugh O'Brien, Charlton Heston, Jill St. John, and Richard Harris. Bill and his son, Billy, made a custom wetsuit for legendary Los Angeles Lakers player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Bill retrieved millions of dollars' worth of gold coins from the shipwreck of the Brother Jonathan off the northern California coast.

Sponsorship[edit]

The company's pro surfers include

Body Glove sponsors pro wake boarders Rusty Malinoski, Shelby Kantar and Jeff McKee.

Body Glove photos[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Retrieved from http://cbs2.com/topstories/local_story_274164015.html on 2007-03-28
  2. ^ "Bruce Irons". Volcom - Youth Against Establishment - Team - Surf. VOLCOM, Inc. 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2011. 

External links[edit]