OCT/NOV 2018 | Inside – Brian Kilpatrick of O’Neill
Dropping the hottest mix tape of 2018… (photo: O’Neill)
Alliance: What is your official Title?
Brian: Vice President of Marketing Communications
A: How long have you been with O’Neill, and how did you get your start?
B: Wow, I think it’s been 19 years this year? I started out as lead graphic designer back in 1999 and my role kept expanding from there.
A: What’s your typical day-to-day look like and what is your favorite part of working for O’Neill?
B: It really depends on the week but we fire on all cylinders most days around here. Myself and the whole crew in marketing/O’FX are working on multiple projects at all times and each one is at various stages of development and delivery. It’s just something different every day. We work very closely with the product development team helping inject personality into highly technical product innovations. My favorite part is aligning Jack O’Neill’s original vision with everything we create.
A: O’Neill is one of the only surf brands that have specific products (vests) for wakeboarding and wakesurfing. How important is it to O’Neill to always have the best fitting and latest style vests in the wake market? How much attention do wake and watersports receive?
B: Wake is a large and very important part of our business. Product is king in our world and innovation is paramount. Since the first neoprene flotation vest we developed back in 1989, it’s been full steam ahead. The focus on quality, fit and function has always been the driving force at O’Neill and it keeps getting better and better every year.
A: How long has O’Neill been making products specifically for watersports? How important was Jack O’Neill to the evolution of surf and watersports products?
B: Jack built the first suit and opened the first “surf shop” in 1952 for one simple reason, he just wanted to surf longer. All any of us want to do is stay in and on the water as long as possible, doing what we love. His vision was crystal clear and way ahead of its time. Jack opened the door and made water sports accessible in so many regions to so many people with his inventions.
A: You guys have some really legitimate riders on your team right now. How important are your athletes in your marketing and R&D process?
B: Extremely important! Our mantra has always been Rider Developed – Rider Proven. Our team is key when it comes to beating the hell out of prototypes, ultimately making sure they fit correctly and enhance performance. Having some of best athletes in the world endorsing your products is key, this isn’t a fashion show.
A: Do you ever get out behind the boat?
B: Yeah, once in while when it warms up here in the summer but it’s not pretty.