Body Glove products can be found all over the world.
Body Glove was started by identical twins in Missouri, Bob and Bill Meistrell, who were always interested in the water. Moving to Manhattan Beach in California in 1944, they suddenly got 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. Becoming lifeguards and surfing by the lights of their car, they realized how cold the water could be. Finally in 1953, they found the insulation used in the back of refrigerators, neoprene, worked well for 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.
Business started slow so the Meistrells were grateful for any extra sales and happily 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 and are part of an elite group of watermen who were inducted to both the surfing and diving halls of fame. The company's headquarters are in Redondo Beach, California.
Body Glove sponsors such sporting events as the Body Glove Surfbout and the National Scholastic Surfing Championships.
Bill Meistrell was a pioneering waterman and lifeguard whose inventions, talents and exploits helped transform surfing and diving into worldwide phenomena and billion-dollar industries.
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 Booneville, Missouri; Bill on July 30, 1928, and Bob 20 minutes later on July 31st. 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 who blazed a path for generations to follow.
Bill bought into their retail store Dive N' Surf in Redondo Beach in 1953 with brother Bob, legendary surfboard maker Hap Jacobs, and renowned 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. Bill came up with the phrase "fits like a glove" and Body Glove was born. Body Glove's boned-hand, which Bill helped design, is one of the most globally recognized brand logos.
Dive N' Surf's success was not lost on Hollywood. Hired to consult, they provided equipment and custom wetsuits for "Sea Hunt," the TV 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 entire 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 even made a custom wetsuit for LA Laker legend Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Bill also retrieved millions in gold coins from shipwreck Brother Jonathan off the Northern California coast.