Hobie Heart: Terry Martin: Memories of a Legend

A true Legend’s story is carried through the ages, passed from ear to ear into immortality. 

In today’s world our stories become far more easy to share, the internet offers us an  enduring archive of thoughts and moments captured in time. It is with this is mind that we hope to create a capsule of stories, thoughts, and moments shared with Terry Martin.

Everyone who crossed paths with Terry came away with not only a piece of wisdom, but a story to tell. Whether you met him only once, or if you shaped next to him for 20 years… everyone who met him has a Terry story. We would love you to share them here, so they can serve as a virtual place for us to gather and remember Terry through the years as our memories grow faint with the passage of time.

His life was one of a true Legend, and it deserves to never be forgotten.

-Tracey Engelking


21 thoughts on “Hobie Heart: Terry Martin: Memories of a Legend

  1. Other than the many boards he shaped for me and the advice he gave me when I was ordering boards for the Hobie shop back in the late 70’s, I enjoyed those many neighborly talks while he and Candy would walk to Pines Park and the enthusiastic discussion we had when he was building and playing his first Digeree Do’s. Capistrano Beach will be a less magical place without him.

  2. Shaping a board with Terry was like being given a blueprint for living… Share your gifts openly, know when it’s time to let something go and move on to the next thing, laugh a lot, no, seriously, laugh a LOT, always find a good thing to say, have a jig in your step, have a deep unwavering faith no matter what the circumstances, and spread love and joy all the days of your life. These are the things that Terry taught me. These are the pieces of him that I will carry with me always.

    -Tracey Engelking

  3. Though I have tons one of the best and last story Terry told me was when he was shaping for Hobie and the younger shapers seemed to keep taking off to Hawaii leaving him with the mother load of the work. So one day he stopped what he was doing, blew himself off and went to the bank (The bank was the one where the Dana Pont Hobie shop is today). He didn’t know anything about banking, so he goes up to the teller said “I would like to borrow $1000”. She asked “for what”? He said ” I want to take my family to Hawaii” So the teller gave him a stack of papers to sign and said “you can take them and bring them back” Of course Terry “Nah nah I’ll fill them out right here gotta pen”? and so he did, and gave them to her, went back to work. The lady called Hobie and told him” an employee wants to borrow $1000″ Hobie asked who? She said a “fellow named Terry Martin” And Hobie said with a chuckle “give it to him”. about an hour after Terry got back to work the teller called him said “Mr. Martin you can come get your money.and off to Hawaii he went with his family.

    Kirby Clark

  4. I first met Terry when I came down to visit with Gerry Lopez when we’re making “Big Wednesday”, Terry was making some of the boards for our “A-TEAM Water Unit”, which was the surf crew heading for EL SALVADOR. The beautiful fake balsa boards he made for the character MATT JOHNSON ridden by actor Jan Michael Vincent and his double J. RIDDLE were so clean and rode with beautiful rhythm. R.I.P Master Craftsman.

  5. I first met Terry back in the 80’s when he was shaping boards for Body Glove. A friend of mine I was with at SanO had a tandem board shaped by Terry and I wanted one. So I had Terry make one for me. My kids and I have had years of fun on that board and just last week I took it out and rode here at Torrance Beach with my daughter Makayla. Thanks Terry for the great fun you gave me and my Family and all of those who rode one of your boards. You will be surely missed. R.I.P.

  6. Was so bummed to hear the news about Terry this weekend. Will be greatly missed.
    Terry shaped my sons boards, and he really liked him a lot. He enjoyed being able to sit in with him and watch the board get done. Terry also let him do some finishing at the end, which was nice. When I told him about his passing, he got on his
    bike and road and bought 2 black sharpies and came home and wrote on his board. I have attached a photo. It choked me up.
    The reason I’m writing is he asked me can you email and find out if there will be a paddle out for him, cause I want to go.

    If you got a minute and could email me back and let me know, I would appreciate it.

    Rick Smith and Shane Smith

  7. I first met Terry Martin back the 70’s when I was 13. Several of my friends had boards shaped by Terry. I could not afford to buy boards from a shop back then so I called Terry on the phone and asked him if I could come over and watch him shape a board. Without hesitation he welcomed me to his shop, even though I did not have the money to buy a board. Terry showed me how to use a template to design the basic shape of the board. Then he gave me some of his templates and showed me how to make my own.

    When my brother came back from Vietnam he bought me a planer. I called Terry and asked him if I could show it to him. It was not a skill planer, but rather then tell me all the things that were wrong with the planer, he suggested some modifications to make it work. Then he showed me how to skin the blank and shape the rails with my planer just to show me that it would do the job. He was always genuinely excited about helping me even when I was just 14. I went on to make about 50 boards while I was in high school. It was how I made money until I was 18.

    When I was 15, I discovered photography. I called Terry to ask him if I could come over and take pictures of him at work. I needed to practice shooting in low light and pushing the development time to increase the sensitivity of the film. I loved the way the work lights captured the shape of the board and all the details. Terry loved the pictures too and he said “they were really neat”. This helped fuel my passion for what has been my life long work as a photographer.

    With few exceptions, Terry has made almost every board I have every owned for the last 40 years. With each one came a dose of enthusiasm to love life and love the Lord. My last visit with Terry he shaped a board for my son, Brian. I dropped off a copy of my new movie to share. The next week I came by to pick up the board and he made a point of telling me how much he loved the movie. “It was the best movie he had ever seen on Stand Up.” This was classic Terry, always loving, always encouraging, always a friend…

  8. Last october, during my honey moon, i visited The Hobie HQ after writing to my friend Kirby Clark.
    Studing a lot of longboard to chose one to surf in California and to bring it to Italy, Kirby told me that at the Hobie Shop in Dana Point were a lot of beautifull longboard and Terry was there.
    I took the car and with my wife Francesca and my son Pietro (he was 5 months) run to the shop, to meet Terry and finally to speak with a legend of surf like him.
    I found him inside the shop and I told him “Hi Mr. Martin, My name is Andrea, I come from Italy. It’s a pleasure to Know You personally. I’d like to have some info to buy a longboard for me and for Italian waves”. Terry, after a big smile, went to my wife and told Pietro “oohhh what a beautiful baby” and he took Pietro on his arms and told me “ ok, let’s speak about this beautiful blond and blueyed baby, and after we can speak of surfing.”
    I stayed inside the shop for an hour and a half, speaking and laughing with Terry, my wife, my son and a young guy who worked in the shop. Top.
    I saw a lot of longboards with Terry and finally i chose a green, beautifull Uncle Buck 9.2 that was shaped by Terry.
    Probably Terry told us more that we understand (my english is so-so) but the smile on his face, the passion on his words speaking of surfing were amazing.
    I hope that every surfer remembers every day, surfing every waves, the Soul of surfing Terry, to surf and to share beautiful moments in the water.

  9. I only met Terry once last year whilst on vacation from the UK. He had shaped the Endless Summer model for myself and my fiancé. We had asked him to write our names on the stringer as it was a pretty big deal for us to get this board. Anyways, Terry wanted to come down to the factory himself to meet us and give us the board. Just before he got there we saw the board and noticed instead of writing Tharren (my name) he had wrote Tarren. I was a lil bit let down but after talking for Terry for 2 hours I totally forget about the board and both my fiancé and I fell in love with Terry.
    It was amazing the way he took time out of his day to come to talk to us and educate us about different boards and the history Californian surfing.
    Terry to me is what surfing is all about. The culture, the happiness and the whole stoke of riding waves.
    Rest in peace Terry but where ever you are then keep on shaping as I’ll be needing a new quiver when I get there :)

  10. Une pensée pour Terry Martin et sa famille, un homme qui a su rendre heureux de par ses créations! Je reste admiratif devant son travail et son histoire ! J espère que tu surfes tes plus belles vagues maintenant Terry…

    Franck, Bretagne ,France

  11. -Sent to us via email from Dave Makely

    I bought a 10’ 0 Hobie shaped by Terry Martin a while back. I love that board. I smile every time I look at it. It is such a wonderful feeling to paddle into a waist high peeler and trim that thing all the way to the beach. I live on the east coast six hours from the beach. If the waves are knee high or bigger that board will glide right in and take me all the way to the sand with a smile on my face without slowing down once. Driving six hours for knee high surf may not sound like fun, but for me it’s worth it. I used to have it hanging on my living room wall over my couch. Terry Martin was a great craftsman. Now he has no pain, no worries, only the joy of Heaven. Being a Christian is a lot like being a surfer. If you decide to try, and put yourself out there, that ocean swell will come up underneath you and take you on the ride of your life. If you decide to try, and ask Jesus Christ to come live in your heart, God will come up underneath you and take you on the ride of your life. I hope you know Jesus Christ as your savior. If you don’t, please talk to someone about it. Terry was turned on to a good thing. Knowing Jesus Christ as your savior is to good not to share. His family, as well as all of you who worked with him every day are in my prayers. Aloha, Terry.

  12. T. Martin’s commitment says it all in his quote “My Goal is to Make People Happy in the Water”. Terry enjoyed what he did and the life around him. We should all take a page out of his long storied history that he left for us, 70,000 times!

  13. I doubt that any of us will ever be as good at anything in our lives as Terry was at “finding” the magic surfboard he recognized was contained in a simple block of foam. He advised us to “Love what you do in life, and it will never feel like work.” Before the sun rose, he approached each day with unparalleled passion and excitement. Terry embodied Stoke! And to watch him at work always left observers with a sense of childlike awe. Spectators young and old knew that they were in the presence of a Master of his craft. He was at once an innovator, authoring many of the sport’s varied chapters, a sculptor, an artist and a philosopher. As Hobie Alter himself said; Terry was the best shaper of all-time.” The best there will ever be. But more importantly, Terry was just a beautiful human being with a simple, positive outlook, a deep respect for nature and all her abundance, and love of life, family and friends. The bearded Sage of Surf will live on in our hearts forever.

  14. Aloha Nui Loa my friend, shaper guru and one of the best of the best……you are missed already ‘ol buddy….so glad I got to tell you how magical the boards of yours I ride and how much I appreciated your genius…….you shaped my 1st team board in ’71 and sent a note with my 2nd telling me how innovative my dimensions and use of concave and vee was…..heady stuff to a 19 year old…..you always had time and a smile for me and every board of mine you shaped I was lucky enough to be in the room with you…….we had so much fun designing and all I ever had to do was tell you what I wanted the board to ride like and it did…..every time. . .
    Did some math to figure the number of waves caught on your boards….it’s damn near 100 Million and growing each day….. well you always said you just wanted people to have fun on the water…..I know how much fun I’ve had riding your boards around the world….so mulitply that by 80,000 and it’s safe to say…you did that like no other my brother…..and will as long as there is a Terry Martin board out in the water….I’ll do my part to fulfill your legacy by surfing as much as I can and loving every minute of it…..
    Wherever you are up there in the stars I hope the fish are biting and your planer is spitting foam…..God must have needed some new boards…….Here’s to a life well lived….yours my friend…..RIP

  15. I had the pleasure of knowing the best shaper in Surfing, Mr. Terry Martin!!! We worked together for years at industry giants! like Hobie! He was the Man the guy who we all looked to for anwsers when it came to the surfboards!! He also was my shaper of choice for all my personal boards which in retospect were all perfect!! He was a special friend who was always there to help any of us in the shop!!! His wisdom and lifelong experinces were his strong suit and he shared this wisdom with all of us!!!Terry Martin was Family man and what a great family they are in my heart and in my prayers!!!! RIP Terry you will never be forgotten! Hen

  16. I miss you so much. Terry’s gone now, freed from is earthly form. Free to ride the waves that those of us left behind can only dream of. Free of the limitations an earthly life brings. His life brought to me, and so many others, joy and inspiration, hope and healing, happiness and laughter, kindness and acceptence, and love. Lots of love.

    So few of us are aware of the living angels that minister to us daily, so caught up in our personal dramas are we. We must wake up. Terry was an earthly angel, now having returned home a heavenly angel; a bodisattva, forever manning the palisades of our human citadels, on watch for the pain and suffering we encounter. Terry was always there, a first responder. Whether it was a shaping issue or a family problem Terry would magically materialize, intently listen, offer a suggestion or an appropriate story and then pray for healing. I miss you so much.

    Terry “is” an angel of the living spirit. Terry’s life is a gift to us all, a lesson in love, compassion, understanding, and giving; a blueprint for living a human life. Yes he is missed but his legacy will live in the hearts of all of us fortunate enough to have been touched by him. Namaste’.

  17. The first time I met T. Martin was May, 1975 at the Hobie Factory. We worked on boards together for awhile doing Hobie, Lightning Bolt and other labels. Mickey Munoz, Mike Muir, Danny Brawner, Ronald Patterson (Timmy’s Dad), a polisher Mark and myself all synchronized our distinctive skills producing 12 to 15 boards a day. By the “heyday” standards of the 60’s, our numbers paled by comparison.
    I was 18 and heading to Hawaii so I did not really know Terry except that his boards were easier than Mickey’s to laminate. Thanks for softening the edges in the tail Terry!
    After a stint in Hawaii I returned to the Hobie factory to sand a few boards waiting to for another factory to open in San Diego. While there, Terry shared his faith in Jesus. He led me to the Lord and we fellowshipped at “Believers Chapel” in San Clemente.
    Like a light house, Terry shined in the storms of life. Always positive, honest, and careful to lead the conversation back to the creator.
    Thanks Terry and Candy for being faithful servants of the Word. Good Job!

  18. I first met Terry at a Bible study he had in his home over 30 years ago. I was about 17 and had just started to read the Bible for the first time in my life. The whole “Christian Thing” was all new and very weird to me. People gathering together in their homes, reading the Bible, praying to some strange God, please…

    It was so foggy that night we could only see about five to ten feet in front of the car. When we parked, we could hardly see the light from the Martin’s house that was only twenty feet from the street. We went in and Terry taught us about loving God and loving each other and at the end he prayed for the fog to go away so we could have a safe drive home. I actually started laughing with my eyes closed because I thought that was such a ridiculous thing for him to do. As soon as he said the “Amen” I got up and looked out the window. It was as clear as it could be. Then I opened the front door and walked out to prove to myself that “prayer to God couldn’t really work” and looked up thinking the fog had somehow just lifted a bit. All I could see were bright shining stars. It was so clear the stars were twinkling.

    Terry’s prayer has stayed with me for decades as a wonderful example of what God can do through a person that seeks the Lord first in his life. It was much later that I ran across a Bible verse that explained what happened that night at the Martin’s home. “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” James 5:16

  19. Sadly for me, I never got to meet the man, though I talked with him a cumulative 3 or 4 hours while designing my 11’0″ Legacy early last year. A friend of mine gave me his number and I called and left a message. Later that day, while I was repairing some clients’ boards, I got a call and it was him. I immediately got stoked. Why? Well, not only could I hear his stoke….I could hear his smile and practically feel the twinkle in his eye. As it turned out, that was in 2009 and because my family and I moved to Brazil, my board wouldn’t be made until early 2011. But my subsequent conversations with Terry were just so much fun. I’d find myself smiling the entire time I was on the phone with him. Even though it was from Brazil, I’d still call and we’d chat for half an hour or more. I picked up the board from Bashams last May and had a classic session at an empty, mid-week glassy Cardiff with my friend Rob. I called to tell him how much I liked it and he and I planned to get together to talk story (his, mainly =^) and I’d watch him shape a board. The day I’d set aside to do that got pre-empted by an unscheduled family trip to Disneyland and I never got to spend that afternoon with him, but that he offered to have me by and let me watch him shape shows what a wonderful human being Terry was. I’ll always think of him when I surf that board and I’ll get to do that again in early July. My thoughts are with Candy and the rest of the Martin family….she’s as wonderful as he was. Lots of love and I hope the benefit tomorrow (5/20) is a rousing success. I’m sure it’ll be full of joy and great stories that’ll have you laughing through your tears. I’d be there if I could.

    Aloha, Terry. You’re already missed terribly.


  20. Terry got to the gates of Heaven and St. Peter said “Terry I need a new T. Martin Fish”. Terry gets that smile “Ok when we going to do it”? Then as he entered Heaven Jesus welcomes him and said “Terry I called you because I need a new long board, one that I can stand on the nose, raise my hands, and Praise My Father”!!! Terry claps his hands together and said let’s do it! Then Terry enters the Throne Room of God. As Terry bask in the great light of God our Father, God said “Terry we just received orders for 50 boards and we need them in a week. Terry smiles and said “No Problem I’ll have ten done tomorrow”… We’ll all miss You Terry and will see you one day in the surf shop called Eternity.

    TLOS… Terry’s Loved Ones Serve; So go out and do something nice for others with Love!

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