The global response to Hobie’s passing has been monumental; astronomical would be a more accurate description. Over the past few weeks, the effect that Hobie Alter had on people’s lives has been shared across every medium imaginable. We have received heart felt letters, pictures, mementos, and countless stories of how a Hobie invention created a lifetime memory or contributed to a way of life. It has lit up social media with a plethora of tweets, posts, threads, and creative hash tagging. It even made the nightly news.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Juan Capistrano, CA – March 30, 2014
Hobart “Hobie” Alter, who started out shaping surfboards, and ended up shaping a culture, passed away peacefully at his Palm Desert home on March 29 surrounded by his loving family. Born on October 31, 1933 in Ontario, California, he was 80 at the time of his passing.
The recently published biography “Hobie: Master of Water, Wind and Waves” reveals the story of this true Renaissance man. The son of a second-generation orange farmer, Hobie flourished spending time at his family’s Laguna Beach summer home. And it was here in the family’s garage back in 1950 where he began his somewhat accidental career by combining his two loves, wood shop and water, crafting handmade 9 foot balsawood surfboards for his friends. Business was good, and his father had grown tired of the sawdust, so in 1954 Hobie would open the area’s first surf shop in Dana Point. But as demand continued to grow, balsawood was becoming scarce, and even with Hobie’s creative assembly line, the wooden board building process was cumbersome. This is where Hobie’s extraordinary gift for self-taught, “outside the box” engineering rose to the challenge. Through a top- secret trial and error process, and along with friend and employee Gordon “Grubby” Clark, Hobie pioneered the development of the foam surfboard. With the lighter and more responsive boards, and his gift for design and commitment to uncompromising quality, Hobie quickly became the number one
surfboard brand in the world. The list of legendary surfers and shapers that worked or rode for Hobie is a virtual Hall of Fame and his success is seen as the launch point for California’s iconic surf industry. Hobie himself was a top surfing competitor.
Having success with surfing, Hobie turned his attention to his other water-based passion, and after another series of tireless design testing, Hobie unveiled his namesake “Hobie Cat” which is credited with bringing high-performance sailing from the yacht club to the masses. “The Cat that Can Fly” could be launched off any beach and soon became one of the world’s top selling sailboats. But his curious mind and constant tinkering didn’t stop there. A few of his other inventions include creating the “Hobie Hawk” a high-performance remote controlled glider (another of his lifetime passions). He also designed the hugely successful Hobie Super Surfer skateboard, sculpted a revolutionary 33-foot mono-hull sailboat, pioneered a “Float Cat” for fly-fishing and built the “Katie Sue” (named for his mother Katie and his wife Susan), an awe-inspiring 60-foot power catamaran from scratch.
As the result of this serial innovation, the name Hobie has come to mean a great deal to the world. But it is the integrity of the person behind the name that has meant so much more to family and friends. A humble man of incomparable character, he made it clear that the one thing of which he was most proud, was his family. His sister recently recalled that their father taught Hobie early on to always tell the truth, no matter the consequence, and that any deal worth doing could be done with a handshake. It was a lesson that Hobie incorporated into every aspect of his personal and professional life, and one that he passed on to his own children as well as those that interacted with him in his various enterprises. He was incredibly giving of his love, his time, his resources and his expertise. Always the first to do whatever was necessary to help those in need. Yet he never wanted any accolades or recognition. His kindness, sage counsel and generosity literally transformed countless lives. But as he was quick to say, “A lot of people helped me along the way, I’m just trying to return the favor”.
In discussing the future with friends as a young man Hobie declared that he wanted to make a living without having to wear hard-soled shoes or work east of California’s Pacific Coast Highway. By “Making people a toy and giving them a game to play with it” he was able to realize this dream. And in the process, he introduced the world to an outdoor lifestyle and collection of products that made things just a bit more fun for all of us. Hobie’s passing will leave an incredible void in the world of surfing, sailing and watersports. But as with any great author, actor or artist, the legacy of his work, and the strong wake of his innovations will live on forever. And for his family and friends, the lessons he taught, the quiet, moral and ethical example he set and the lingering warmth of his abiding love will comfort them as long as they live.
With his loving wife Susan at his side, Hobie lived life as an adventure spending years on the lakes and ski slopes of McCall, Idaho, navigating the Katie Sue through the channels near their home in Orcas Island, Washington and hitting the links at Ironwood Country Club in Palm Desert, California. In addition to Susan, he is survived by his sisters Carolyn and Lillian, his daughter Paula and her partner Ian, son Hobie Jr. and his wife Stephanie, son Jeff and his wife Laurie, grandchildren Cortnie and husband Dylan, Brittany, Scotty, Cody, Ashlyn, Tyler, Noelle and Justin, great-granddaughter Serena, and many close friends that were always made to feel like they were immediate family.
Hobie received the Waterman Achievement award from the Surfing Industry Manufacturers
Association in 1993, was inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in 1997 and
admitted as an inaugural member of the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2011 alongside Dennis Connor and Ted Turner.
Details of Memorial Services are pending, and in keeping with the tradition of the Waterman, there will also be a surfer’s “Paddle Out” in front of the family’s Oak Street home in Laguna Beach, where it all began. Date/time TBD.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you consider a donation to either:
Sport of Kings Foundation – in Memory of Hobie Alter
PO Box 2499 Capistrano Beach, CA 92624
Surfing Heritage Culture Center – Hobie Alter Scholarship Fund
Orcas Island Community Foundation – Deer Harbor Volunteer Fire Department– in Memory of Hobie Alter
I. Caught. A. Fish. Oh YEAH!!! Read it again, I Caught A Fish!!! Woot Woot holla at yo fishermama!! One fish, two fish, red fish, MY fish!! YEW!!! And, not just any fish! I caught a dastardly, super smart, wily, shrewd Ocean Living fish! Oh, they have eluded me for two years of trying… they have nibbled and evaded my true hearts desire to pluck them from their salty home. They have snapped my line and stolen my bait. They have left me standing on the shore bellowing ‘Darn you, you slippery clever rascals! Why won’t you just let me catch you??!!!” Oh, but all that changed on Friday, for on Friday I went from fisher to catcher!! I sniped a calico straight out of his hidey hole in the eel grass and into my Hobie Mirage Pro Angler kayak…. Satisfaction!! Glorious sweet sweet fishy satisfaction!
Ok, so how did I catch said fish, you ask?? I joined a group of people (ok I crowbarred my way into an invite) from all walks of Hobie life, and went on a ‘Fishn Mission’ put on by Fastlane Sailing Center in San Diego. A Fishn Mission is quite possibly the best and easiest way to get out into a personal boat and spend a morning doing a bit of angling! It is SET UP for you. Seriously. You park your car right in front of Fastlane’s waterfront location on Mission Bay. Walk like ten steps, turn a corner and your eyes get filled with your own little fish catching chariot in the form of a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak! It’s set with snack pack, pre lured poles, and ready to be wheeled the other ten feet to the water. Sweet living indeed!!!
Before you put boat in water, Ron Lane, Fastlane’s Chief of All things Fishing/sailing, gives you a brief talk on how you operate the boat. Honestly, it’s pedal driven easiness with a basic rudder. SO SIMPLE, yet crazy effective and quiet. Then we got stoked out with inside fishing tips from Afran, creator/owner of Warbaits, on how to properly cast and reel for the area we would be fishing in. Then we were rolling our boats to the water and we were off! From parking lot to the water in under 15 minutes and another easy 5 minute pedal to the honey hole…. and you are on a Fishn Mission! That is precision and a team that knows what they are doing!!
Just so you know, NO experience is necessary to have a GREAT time. Along on our crew were two people who had never been in boats, or used fishing poles. Everything is so well explained and well laid out that all 12 of us Hooked Up a fish at least once on the trip. Ron has a crew of expert fishermen along who check in with you through out the day, give you advice and help you land that elusive fish of your dreams. It was with Afran’s help that I finally got the right technique down to reel in my little calico friend! It was AWESOME!!! Plus, you get to yell ‘Hook Up’ when you catch one! Don’t freak out if you have never handled a hooked fish before, the guides are on it! They help you get your ‘I’m a hugely successful fisherman’ photo and show you how to de-hook safely so your little fish friend can go back to his watery home and tell stories of how he was ‘in the boat!!’. Oh, and there is a nice little sandy beach with restrooms where you take a snack break half way through the morning. Truly a set up for a great day if there ever was one!!!
After the day is on the water is over, you cruise back to Fastlane for a nice lunch. Then, since you are now a successful fisherman, you do what all great salty sea dogs do, you tell lies about how big the fish you caught was and how much bigger the one that got away was!! To go on your own Fishn Mission contact Fastlane (619.222.0766) and book your day!!
-Tracey Engelking. Successful Fishermama.
***I have to take a minute and thank David and Doug from Hobie by Hurley for having me along!! What an awesome gift you gave to us all! Thank you to Ron Lane for providing the stoke!! I’ve never met anyone more genuinely psyched on enjoying the water then you! Thank you to all the fishing guides for helping us achieve success!!! And, especially thank you to my bosses at Hobie Surf Shop, Jake and Mark, for letting me write blogs like these that sometimes highlight other shops, but that are a true reflection of the Hobie Lifestyle!!***
** This article was originally published in March of 2012. With Spring exactly 2 weeks away, I dug it out, edited it, added to it, updated it, and felt it needed to be shared again. In the two years since it went up, my opinion on ‘JUST WEAR THE BIKINI’ has only gotten stronger! Life is short ladies, too short for hiding out inside. Enjoy, share, repost, then, get outside to the beach!!**
I’m 40 years old.. and I do not have a glossy magazine “bikini body”. Not even close to one. I am one of the 85% of women who suffer from cellulite… evil evil cellulite!! That lumpy bumpy stuff that makes us cringe in the dressing room mirror. It runs a course from my butt all the way down to the back of my knees. Oh, from the front, I’m all good… but from the back, it is a whole nother story. A mine field of crevices, pits and even a varicose vein or two. Foxy?? Um…. well… Throw in a stretch mark or ten from having Blue (beloved child of your blogger) and you should be starting to feel me. Oh, and my legs do that thing that when I stop walking, they jiggle just a little too long to go unnoticed. The phrase “Yikes!” escapes my lips more than a few times during a bikini try on session, sometimes I even audibly gasp. OK, I mostly audibly gasp.
Right about now, you are thinking.. “I thought she was going to tell me how to get a banging bikini body??” Well… I was going to do just that today. I envisioned sharing lots of information about cardio, squats, diet, push ups, pull ups, yoga till you can tie yourself in a knot… but, seriously, that has been well covered on the internets. Like over a Billion articles kind of covered. The girls at Tone It Up are 100% my favorite to learn from, check them out, they truly inspire us ladies/girls to be the best YOU through proper nutrition and exercise. Same deal over at Mind, Body, Green. So many opportunities to get educated on getting fit online these days, and all for the price of an internet connection and a Pinterest account! So, what can I add to that abundant conversation, except for my own personal tips on how I got over the self created, emotionally self defeating, drama in my own head and start LoVING the way I look in a bikini…!! Outside even. Like wearing a bikini in public of all places… ;)
Tip one: Realize NO ONE sees your perceived flaws the way you see them. Let me say that again :: NO ONE sees your perceived flaws the way you see them. NO ONE. We as women have a tendency to hyper criticize ourselves. Like, way overboard, self criticism. We see things on our body that microscopes can’t pick up! The insane amount of cellulite I see on the backs of my legs, really can’t be that bad, because no one has ever physically recoiled in horror when I wear a bikini! My advice, STOP being so hard on yourself. You are 100x more fabulous than you think!
Tip two: Hang out at the beach with your friends and laugh tons! No matter how much weight I have gained or lost has ever made my friends stop hanging out with me or stop making me laugh. If you have a friend who is nit picking on your looks, ditch them. Good friends love you saggy bits and all. Good friends, also, will encourage you to get fit too, and go along with you! At least twice a week, my buddy Jen Holcomb and I will either go on coffee drinking beach walks or dawn patrol surf sessions. It is spirit lifting as well as metabolism boosting! A good man may be hard to find, but a good friend isn’t!! Surround yourself with as many as you can.
Tip three: Get a bikini for your body type. Find one that plays up all your best assets and camouflages the ones that don’t make your favorites list. Any of our five shops are a great place to shop for an ultra flattering style (I know, kind of a shameless plug! haha). Truly though, until I went to one of our Hobie staff swim training clinics, I always wore huge swaths of fabric in my bikini bottoms! Like, if there was a bikini version of a bee keepers suit, I was basically wearing that amount of coverage. I learned that all that fabric was making my butt, the area I wanted to hide the most, look WAY bigger than when I was coaxed into trying on a tiny bottom by Maaji…. I went from budding granny to Hottie Babe! You will be shocked by how much better you look in the proper cut, proper size, proper color, bikini. In other words, try it on… you never know!
Tip four: If your modesty level only allows for wearing a maximum coverage one piece, or if you are a girl who rocks the tiniest of eye patch bikinis with out care, smile and get yourself to the sand! We are all so blessed to be able to stand on the edge of the Pacific Ocean and dip our toes in. Don’t ever let the fear of swimwear stop you from enjoying this beautiful Earth. You will never get to the end of your life and be grateful you spent summers hiding your stretch marks inside. This is a Promise. Get out there!!!
I hope my tips help you get into the swim of things this spring and more importantly, into a bikini! If I can leave you just one last tip… a quote from Ralph Waldo Emerson “Live in the Sunshine. Swim the Sea. Drink the Wild Air“. See you in the sand!!
UPDATE :: THE PARADE HAS BEEN CALLED OFF DUE TO RAIN FOR 2014, BUT THE SHAVE ICE WILL STILL GO ON!!!!!!!!!
The 48th annual Laguna Beach ‘Patriot’s Day Parade’ will make it’s way through the city on Saturday March 1st at 11am!! The theme of the parade is ‘The Home of the Free Because of the Brave’**. It’s a fantastic community wide celebration with all kind of fun, and we can’t wait to be part of it again this year!!!!
Along side all the floats, vintage cars, school bands, wild costumes, civic and veterans organizations that are sure to march, we will have our own entry into the parade again this year. We don’t want to give too much away, but… think green, a little white ball, and fore. ;) Since we are celebrating our 60th birthday all this year, expect a few extra surprises. Oh, and the rain will not be stopping our good time. As of this minute, the parade is a 100% GO. But…. if, and it’s a big IF, the parade gets called because of the weather, all our inside the store plans will still be Game On. And what are those in store plans, you ask???
We are partnering with our friends at Olukai to bring you sweet sweet delicious extra super special sauce tasty, Shave Ice!! From 12-2pm on Saturday enjoy a free shave ice served up in our Laguna Beach Hobie shop, while supplies last (about 200 servings!! So, you should be all good!). When you are in, you can try on a pair of their crazy comfortable sandals inspired by the brightly colored shave ice. Olukai makes some of the best, most durable, footwear around. They are always a top customer pick. We are stoked they are coming in to help make this Laguna Beach tradition an even more inviting one!! Yea Olukai!!
We look forward to seeing everyone on Saturday. To find all the up to the minute information about the parade, please look to the site www.lagunabeachparade.org Remember even if the Parade has to be rescheduled, we are still on for a date with Olukai and their magical shave ice machine. :)
** a little more on the theme for 2014 Patriot’s Day Parade…
“Americans cherish freedom, but all too often we do not reflect how this came to be. We honor those brave men and women in uniform who have given their lives in our defense through our 238-year history as a nation. We should also remember those who risked all to gain so many other freedoms that have become part of our Constitution. We also revere those who fought for our right to speak openly, to assemble without fear, to end slavery, to have a right to vote, for the right to personal privacy, and so many other privileges that we enjoy today in the ‘home of the free’.”