Bob Meistrell, the co-founder of wet suit manufacturer Body Glove, died on June 16, 2013. He was 84.
Meistrell died of a heart attack while aboard his boat, the Disappearance, which was traveling back from Catalina Island as part of the Rock 2 Rock paddleboard competition.
In the 1950s Meistrell and his identical twin, Bill, who died in 2006 at the age of 77, developed a wet suit with the insulating material used in the back of refrigerators. The streamlined suit fit like a glove and was marketed under the name Body Glove, The twins’ design eventually developed into the first commercially viable wet suit.
The Meistrell brothers, along with a couple of business partners, bought the surfing, scuba diving and water sports company Dive N’ Surf in Redondo Beach in 1953.
Body Glove, which is based in Redondo Beach, will celebrate its 60th anniversary later this year.
“To our knowledge, Body Glove is either the only original “surf” company left that is still privately owned and operated by the family that started it, or one of very few,” according to Body Glove International president Russ Lesser. “The others have either gone broke, gone public, or sold out to someone else.
It is a shame that Bob will not be able to be with us during the 60th anniversary celebration,” adds Lesser.
Born July 31, 1928 in Booneville, Missouri — 20 minutes after his brother Bill, who was born July 30 — Bob spent his early years in Missouri before moving to Manhattan Beach with his family at the age of 16.
The brothers were among the first Los Angeles County Ocean Lifeguards during the 1940s.
“We love the ocean and everything you can do in it,” Bob Meistrell told Forbes magazine earlier this year. “We’re in the hall of fame for diving and the hall of fame for surfing. For two kids from the farm that’s a real kicker.”
Bob continued surfing and diving, including a 162-foot dive for his 81st birthday in 2009.
“His motto was, ‘Do what you love, love what you do’‚” according to Lesser.