Forget the angling over which city deserves the corny moniker “Surf City.” The Dive N' Surf in Redondo Beach is actual ground zero for the Southern California water sports culture. Ocean-obsessed twin boys from Missouri, Bob and Bill Meistrell moved to Manhattan Beach in 1944. In 1953, upon their return from the Big War, the brothers launched a water-going revolution that changed Southern California forever by inventing the first practical wet suits, called Body Glove. That year they also opened the Dive N' Surf. The brothers just wanted suits that would let them surf year-round without severe, well, shrinkage. But instead, Body Glove helped spur the invention of the California beach culture. Their product line has expanded exponentially, all of it bearing the familiar “boned hand” logo now known globally. There's even a Hollywood link: The brothers worked with Lloyd Bridges in the late 1950s to ensure that TV classic Sea Hunt was authentic, and they created customized wet suits for Bridges, Gary Cooper, Charlton Heston and — in the big-and-tall department — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Wonderfully, they'll do the very same for you. 504 N. Broadway, Redondo Beach. (310) 372-8423,

—Paul Teetor

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