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Hobie founder dies at 80

HOBART “Hobie” Alter, the man behind the famous brand of Hobie Cat sailing catamarans and Hobie fishing kayaks, died at his Palm Desert home in the US on March 29.

Born on October 31, 1933 in Ontario, California, Alter 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 while spending time at his family’s Laguna Beach summer home back in 1950 where he began his somewhat accidental career by combining his two loves, wood shop and water, crafting handmade nine-foot balsawood surfboards for his friends.

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. A few of his other inventions included the Hobie Hawk  high-performance remote controlled glider, the Hobie Super Surfer skateboard, and a Float Cat for fly-fishing.

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.

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