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Hobie Alter, who shaped Southern California surf culture, dies at 80

Obituaries

Hobie Alter, who shaped Southern California’s signature surf culture by pioneering the mass-produced foam surfboard and later popularized sailing by inventing a lightweight, high-performance catamaran, died Saturday at his home in Palm Desert. He was 80.

The announcement of Alter’s death was posted on www.hobie.com, his company’s website. No cause was disclosed.

Full obituary: Hobie Alter dies at 80

A self-taught design innovator and entrepreneur whose “Hobie” brand earned him a fortune, Alter was nonetheless a reluctant businessman who eschewed suits for cutoffs and was guided by his imagination above all else.

“I’m making money producing things that give me pleasure, doing exactly what I want to do,” Alter told a reporter in 1977. “I guess I’m really lucky that way.”

A full Times obituary appears here.

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steve.chawkins@latimes.com

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