LOS ANGELES – For Bob Meistrell, there was always something about the water.

After he and his brother, Bill, taught themselves to swim in a Missouri pond, one would man a bicycle pump on shore and the other would throw on a diving helmet fashioned from a 5-gallon vegetable can, a pane of glass, a scoop of tar and — connecting to the pump — a garden hose.

A few decades later, the identical twins who moved to Southern California as teens, started a company whose wetsuits enabled surfers to stay in the water longer and more comfortably than they ever had. Their accomplishments at Redondo Beach-based Body Glove International helped draw millions to a relaxed lifestyle that was once the province of macho young men who warded off the chill with oil-drenched sweaters.

At 84, Bob Meistrell died Sunday aboard his 72-foot yacht Disappearance off Catalina Island, Calif., where he was planning to help run a paddleboard race. The cause was a heart attack, family members said.

Bill Meistrell died of Parkinson’s disease in 2006.

In 1965, the Meistrells founded Body Glove, which is owned almost entirely by family members and does more than $200 million in business annually, marketing not just wetsuits but swimsuits, snorkels, sportswear and niche items such as cellphone cases.

It succeeded beyond “the wilder of our wilder dreams” Bob Meistrell once said.