A Tribute to Hobart “Hobie” Alter 1933-2014

“His contributions were extensive and we all benefited from his life.  A legend has left us…”

Russ Howell, FaceBook, March 30, 2014

“Outstanding man.”

Spyder Wills, Laguna Beach, March 30th, 2014

Tribute FaceBook 3-30-2014
Collage created by Glenn Miyoda, FaceBook, March 30th, 2014




Hobie Alter was one of the most successful entrepreneurs and founding fathers of the surfing and skateboard industry not to mention he totally revolutionized catamaran sailing in the late ‘60s when he developed the Hobie Catamaran (The Hobie Cat). But besides having designed and built catamarans and even radio-controlled gliders he is possibly best known and widely remembered as the man behind the development of the foam-and-fiberglass surfboard. His label “Hobie” remains one of the top-selling surfboard brands of all time. Hobie was also a solid sport competitor in his younger days as well. He won the second Brooks Street surf contest in Laguna in 1954 and placed third and fourth at the Makaha International Surfing Championships in 1958 and 1959. He was also an excellent tandem surfer, placing second in the event at Makaha in 1962. Hobie added to his personal notoriety by making the Guinness Book of World Records in 1964 by surfing the wake of a motorboat 26 miles from Long Beach to Catalina Island. Alter was also a key figure in the creation of the United States Surfing Association in 1961, and served as the group’s vice president for four years.

He began making skateboards in 1962 then teamed up with the Vita Pakt juice company two years later in 1964 to create Hobie Skateboards and consequently the iconic Hobie Super Surfer skateboard was born. I started skateboarding 1967, at the age of 12, while living in Cupertino, California. My first board was, case in point, a Hobie Super Surfer wooden board with clay wheels and I became infected with the passion to skateboard for years to come. Little did I know that one day my passion would pay off and I eventually had the honor to be sponsored by Hobie. My first involvement was in the mid 70s when the newly formed Hobie Skateboard Team selected me to join and become a sponsored professional skateboarder. To have had the privilege of representing his name back in the old school skateboarding days of the 70s has always been something I’ve been proud of.


“People laughed at me for setting up a surf shop,” Hobie remembers.
“They said that once I’d sold a surfboard to each of the 250 surfers on the coast, I’d be out of business. But the orders just kept coming.”
— Hobie Alter


Hobie Skateboards Logo_B




Here are a few links to clips and/or articles about “Hobie” that I hope you will enjoy:




Hobie Story – Part 1
Hobie Story – Part 2