Hugh Bradner

La Jolla, California, 1988 and 1999
You don’t have to stay dry to stay warm

Hugh Bradner was a UC Berkeley physicist in 1951 when he heard about bubble-filled rubber called neoprene, which he believed could be used to make underwater suits for Navy divers. He designed and built some prototype “wetsuits” (the Navy was already using tightly sealed “drysuits”), but the military showed no interested, and Bradner never followed through on patenting his idea. A Southern California surfer-diver named Bev Morgan came upon Bradner’s wetsuit blueprints in 1952, and soon brough...