Neal was born in 1951. From his roots in LaJolla, he grew up two blocks from the famous Windansea beach and shorebreak. At a very early age, Neal was always in the water and soon found surfing to become a major passion in his life.

Surfing everday at LaJolla Shores developed Neal's surfing skills to the next level. The competition scene entered in the mid-60's and started Neal's surfing career. His first sponser was Gordon & Smith Surfboards, where Mike Hynson and Skip Frye, introduced him into the surfing world. Looking up to both those guys for their shaping skills made Neal want to get into building surfboards. In 1967, Skip Frye sold Neal his skill 100 planer that Neal still uses to this day for shaping custom surfboards!

The next sponser was Con Surfboards, which launched Neals pro surfing career. During that period, Neal was the only Californian in the finals at the 1967 International Surfing Championships at Makaha. After the event, Corky Carroll from Hobie Surfboards made Neal the contract he couldn't refuse. Hobie wanted to pay for all contest expenses including airfare, transportation, hotel, contest entry fees, food and contest result money a weekly paycheck...just for surfing! This was the beginning of Neal's professional surfing career.

All the travel and contest led Neal to Hawaii every winter from 1966 to 1969. During this time, Neal realized this was the ultimate prize:Hawaii. After graduation from LaJolla High School in 1969, Neal packed everything up and moved to Maui where he start Outer Island Surfboards. The first factory was set up in the old pineapple canary in Lahaina, and later moved out to Kahakuloa on Neal's property around the north side of Maui, where he currently resides today. Neal sold Outer Island Surfboards and started his current surfboard factory-Valley Isle Surfboards.

The past five decades of building surfboards on Maui has led to years of fun surfing, Honolua Bay to name his homebreak, and progressive surfboard design made in a beautiful valley on Maui, hence the name Valley Isle Surfboards.