Hobie Alter, who died Saturday at the age of 80, was known as the Henry Ford of surfing.
In 1958, he developed the mass-produced foam surfboard with a partner. He later popularized sailing by inventing a lightweight, high-performance catamaran.
The impact of his innovation was big; it allowed people who couldn't lift heavy wood boards to surf, and it opened sailing up to those who could never afford yacht club dues.
Alter once said he never wanted to work east of Pacific Coast Highway, and he got his wish.
Did you use his boards or boats or frequent his Dana Point shop, which was the epicenter of Southland surfing?
Reader alnoma wrote:
"I learned to sail on a friend's Hobie Cat on the Majuro Lagoon in the Marshall Islands in the 1970's. What an incredible feeling. I have seen Hobie Cats all over the world. Just great great design and engineering. You really appreciate that when you have capsized and you know you have sharks around you. But we could get the classic 16 foot Hobie Cat back upright and moving in a minute or two. Great design is anticipating how it works when mistakes are made, as surely they will be."
Reader borkin007 wrote:
"I surfed up and down the coast during the late 60's and 70's . Ran into Hobie numerous times and he was always a class act. A true inovater who will be missed by many. Feels like a piece of me has died too. Such a great time in SoCal."
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