Hobie’s dream was born in his parents’ garage in 1950, when Hobie decided to
apply his love of woodworking to the sport of surfing. Dad backed out the Buick to
make room for a shipment of balsawood, Hobie got out his drawknife and carved
out his very first surfboard. Friends soon started dropping by and before you
knew it there was no room left for the Buick—Hobie’s business of fun had begun.
Hobie and the sport grew together. A couple of years and 40 tons of sawdust
later, Hobie opened up Southern California’s first surf shop in Dana Point. Then
in 1958 Hobie and buddy Gordon “Grubby” Clark began experimenting with new
materials, literally inventing the polyurethane foam surfboard. The new boards
were lighter, faster and easier to ride than anything else in the water. Suddenly
everyone wanted to be a surfer—and every surfer wanted a Hobie.
By the mid-1960s, while the Beach Boys were making records, the legendary
Hobie Surf Team was setting them. Hobie’s lineup was a veritable Who’s Who
of surfing greats. Phil Edwards, Joey Cabell, Corky Carroll, Micky Munoz, Joyce
Hoffman, Joey Hamasaki, Gary Propper, Billy Hamilton and Herbie Fletcher are
just a few of the champions who supported the distinctive Hobie diamond logo
over the years.
In the late 60’s Hobie started messing around in boats. Hobie developed a
prototype for a lightweight, fast and easy-to-sail playboat based on the
Polynesian twin-hulled catamaran. History soon repeated itself. What
Hobie’s foam surfboard did for surfing, the Hobie Cat did for sailing,
introducing a whole new way to have fun in the sun and revolutionizing
an industry in the process. In the past four decades, more people have
taken to the water on a Hobie Cat than almost any other sailboat design.
Hobie Cats are still the world’s best selling cats and it’s hard to find a body
of water on any continent that doesn’t have an active Hobie racing fleet.
In the years to follow, plenty of other ocean innovations emerged from
Hobie’s imagination: the Hobie Power Skiff, a 33’ monohull sailer, a 60’
ocean voyaging power cat and innovative fishing floats and a wide range
of kayaks. Hobie’s logo has meant the very best in everything from radiocontrolled
gliders, skateboards, world-famous polarized sunglasses
It seems incredible that one man’s vision could provide so much fun for
watermen and women the world over, but in that department, Hobie
Alter stands alone. He didn’t just create toys, he created a way of life,
a new way of looking at our watery world. The dream born on the beach
in 1950 has become reality not just for Hobie but for new generations of
dreamers, all of whom continue to spell fun in the sun, the surf and the
sand with a flying capitol H