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Hobie Alter (October 31, 1933 – March 29, 2014)

Hobie Alter, 80, passed away at his home in Palm Desert on March 29. Possibly the largest name in the surf and sail industry, the Hobie brand was synonymous with innovation and quality. And with having fun! Hobie designed and built surfboards, catamarans, kayaks, skateboards, and even model gliders. He started at an early age, shaping balsa boards in his father’s garage while still in high school. As better quality foam products became available after WWII, he partnered with Grubby Clark and began making lighter weight, more responsive boards on a commercial scale. When the Gidget movie came out in 1959 and launched the surfing lifestyle to the world, Hobie had a fun, reasonably-priced board to sell right out the door of his tiny shop in Dana Point. To allow time to think and tinker, the soft-spoken Hobie usually positioned himself in the background, but the boards and Hobie Cats and kayaks he created have always ridden the crest.

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