Newest member of O’Neill team takes 26.5-mile race in 3 hours and 56 minutes,
ahead of more than 200 racers.

Irvine, Calif. (August 12, 2011) O’Neill, the original surf, snow and youth lifestyle brand, is proud to congratulate its own Rob Rojas for his impressive performance at today’s O’Neill SEA Paddle NYC, claiming first place overall with a lightning-quick time of 3 hours and 56 minutes. The win marks Rob’s 20th professional victory of his four-year racing career, and fourth as a member of O’Neill’s athlete roster.

Rojas came into the race training on a new 14-foot board, a required size for the elite race. This new board size, or New York City’s elements, didn’t deter the 37 year old, who finished under the iconic Brooklyn Bridge well ahead of Annabel Anderson (4 hours, 13 minutes) and Thomas Gallagher (4 hours, 16 minutes). Set against the backdrop of midtown Manhattan, the Bronx and Brooklyn, more than 200 elite and amateurs started from Pier 40 on the West Side, making their way north around the island, finishing on the East Side.

“The O’Neill SEA Paddle NYC was very, very challenging, but well worth it,” added Rojas. “Crossing that finish line at the Brooklyn Bridge meant a great deal to me. I wanted to perform well in New York City, make my sponsors proud and win for two important causes – autism and SEA. It’s great to accomplish all three goals at once.”

Some of Rojas’ previous wins came at the 2010 Hennessey’s International Paddleboard Championships in San Diego, the Hennessey’s US Championships, Hobie Hennessey’s Waterman Challenge, Waterman’s Sunscreen Paddle for Humanity, Catalina Challenge relay and Tahoe-Nalu Distance Race.

“We knew that Rob was one of the best paddleboarders out there, so this win doesn’t come as a big surprise, but it’s still great to see him claim a big win in New York,” said O’Neill’s Steve Ward. “No matter the sport, there’s something very impressive about elite athletes who can perform at their best on the world’s biggest stage.”

The O’Neill SEA Paddle features both an elite and amateur division, all in the name of charity. Last year, the NYC paddle raised a total of $400,000, with proceeds distributed amongst Surfer’s Environmental Alliance and several Autism organizations. Later tonight, O’Neill will host a ‘White Water Evening,’ where guests are encouraged to wear all-white with the Brooklyn Bridge and lower Manhattan as a backdrop. The White Water Evening will also offer memorabilia for auction to benefit event charities.

During the O’Neill SEA Paddle NYC, O’Neill has featured race jerseys made with 30+ UV protection that have been given the International Seal of Recommendation by The Skin Cancer Foundation. These UV protection lycra products, along with the highly popular Hybrid Series shorts, will be prominently featured at all upcoming SUP events hosted by O’Neill, including the conclusion of this Summer’s Tahoe Cup Series.

For more information about O’Neill athletes, events and apparel, visit


About O’Neill
O’Neill, the original California surf, snow and youth lifestyle brand, was founded in 1952 when a young man named Jack O’Neill took his unstoppable passion for surfing and used it to beat Mother Nature at her own game. Pioneering the world’s first neoprene wetsuit, Jack had successfully found a way to extend his surf sessions in the bone-chilling breaks of Northern California. He opened up the garage doors to his first surf shop in Santa Cruz soon after.

While many things have changed since those humble beginnings, Jack’s initial vision of producing functional and innovative boardriding products continues to lie at the core of everything the company does. O’Neill’s core values – innovation in style and technology – have seen the brand devote itself wholeheartedly to the evolution of the action sports lifestyle. From the first ever neoprene wetsuit and surf leash, to the world’s first stitchless boardshorts and range of groundbreaking wearable electronics, O’Neill’s progressive spirit will always drive the company forward. For more information, please visit