Jack O’Neill & Harry Hind Education Center

Bridget O’Neill, Dan Haifley, JJ O’Neill, Santa Cruz Mayor David Terrazas and California Secretary of Natural Resources John Laird.

On September 15, 2018, O’Neill Sea Odyssey hosted a small, private ribbon cutting ceremony naming the “Jack O’Neill and Harry Hind Education Center.”

In the 1950s, Jack O’Neill lived and worked in San Francisco, where he often surfed at Kelly’s Cove, at the north end of Ocean Beach. There, he met Harry Hind. The two became life-long friends, surfing together and occasionally collaborating on various projects.

Harry Hind financially backed Jack’s idea to build a surf shop at the Santa Cruz Harbor, which subsequently morphed into a two story structure. “I had the idea to open a surf shop at the Santa Cruz Harbor, and asked Harry if he could back me on the deal”, said Jack O’Neill. “He said he would. Then Harry brought in a CPA and an attorney, and our surf shack became an 8,500-square-foot building.”

“We got approval from the harbor and built it in 1965. In 2000, Harry and I donated this building to the Sea Odyssey, to have this wonderful facility and revenue from rental space. Harry and I had a lifelong interest in the ocean, and his generosity has helped to make this program possible.”

When Jack and Harry donated the building to O’Neill Sea Odyssey, an ocean-going science and environment program for elementary school children, there were four years left on its lease with the Santa Cruz Harbor. Initial efforts by O’Neill Sea Odyssey to obtain a new lease were unsuccessful. But, as the result of fundraising for building renovations and an open door to a negotiation with the Santa Cruz Harbor to develop a new lease thanks to then-Port Director Brian Foss, our non-profit organization took the upstairs of the building and the harbor took the downstairs, for a period to end on December 31, 2028.

Today the structure houses an education center operated by O’Neill Sea Odyssey, a free, ocean-going science and environmental program for elementary schools that also uses the Team O’Neill sailing catamaran as an ocean classroom. The hands-on science program has environmental outcomes and serves 4th-6th grade students from schools in Monterey Bay and surrounding areas.

The Daniels family have generously supported the program since Harry Hind passed away in 2012, in tribute to his life-long friendship with Jack, who passed away in 2017.  Leslie Daniels, Harry’s daughter, and her husband, Troy, have made two generous gifts to establish the Jack O’Neill and Harry Hind Endowment Fund at the Community Foundation for Monterey County. Earnings from the fund will help to support O’Neill Sea Odyssey in perpetuity.

-Dan Haifley

Photos: Nikki Brooks

Guests of the “Jack O’Neill and Harry Hind Education Center” naming ceremony enjoyed sunshine and the great view from the building’s deck.

 The “Jack O’Neill and Harry Hind Education Center” ribbon cutting and naming ceremony.

The “Jack O’Neill and Harry Hind Education Center” ribbon cutting and naming ceremony.

Thank you to everyone who the joined the The “Jack O’Neill and Harry Hind Education Center” ribbon cutting and naming ceremony. Thank you for your continued support and passion to provide a unique ocean education experience for O’Neill Sea Odyssey students!

Nikki Brooks