Hobie Alter


Hobie Alter started building balsa surfboards in his parent's Laguna Beach garage in the early 50s,  In 1954, using an $8,000 inheritance, Mr. Alter, then 21, purchased a lot on Coast Highway in Dana Point, Calif.  and built what would evolve into a surfboard factory.  Until then, most surfers fashioned their own boards in their basements or garages, mostly out of bulky redwood planks or lighter, porous balsa.

By 1954 Hobie had his own shop in downtown Dana Point. Over the next few years, Hobie worked closely with Renny Yater and Gordon "Grubby" Clark, employees that worked in the glassing side of his shop. Then, four years later, he began full-time production of foam core surfboards, partnering with Clark in an attempt to mass produce what was soon to be called Hobie Surfboards. Over the course of 60s and 70s, Hobie created two new enterprises – Hobie Skateboards, based in Honolulu, and the Hobie Cat, the world's first easy-to-sail lightweight catamaran. 

Whenever Hobie came to race at a local regatta, the entire fleet would follow Hobie around the course like sheep to the slaughter.  It took years for many of us to eventually break away, tack out and use our own boats speed, tactics and skills learned from watching the master at work.

One of the most successful creators in the history of surfing, Hobie Alter passed away on Saturday, March 29, 2014, at the age of 80.  He will be missed.