Hobie Alter set groundwork for making a living from surfing
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 2 December, 2013 - Fresh out of high school and thinking outside of the conventional 1950's box, the 17-year-old Hobie was already beginning to shape a culture-along with a lifestyle and an industry. He started out shaping balsa and fiberglass surfboards for himself and a few friends in the garage of his family's summer home above Oak Street beach in Laguna. By the end of 1953 he'd made some 80 boards there and was fine-tuning his craft.
Fed up with the piles of wood shavings and gobs of resin on the floor, Hobie's father helped him set up in a small workshop and showroom on Coast Highway in nearby Dana Point - on the well-traveled road to and from the most popular surf spots in the area. By the end of the decade, Hobie had a big head start on his surfboard-building contemporaries. After the movie "Gidget" was released and surfing became a major youth culture obsession, Hobie had already realized his dream of making a living and doing exactly what he wanted to do.
During the mid-1960s Hobie repeated his visionary thinking. He joined forces with a nationally known citrus juice brand, Vita-Pakt, to create the Hobie Super Surfer skateboard and a promotional skateboarding team that spread the word to landlocked cities across the country. "Sidewalk surfing" as it was known, became a nationwide phenomenon.
By the late 1960s, Hobie was at it again, this time designing, engineering and producing the Hobie Catamaran, a small and relatively inexpensive sailboat that revolutionized the rather staid and sometimes elitist world of yachting. Anyone with $999 at the time could become a sailor and launch a Hobie Cat - "the people's boat" - without a yacht club membership, marina slip fees, or even access to a boat ramp. Simply trailer the "Hobie Cat" to a shore, drag it down to the waterline, raise the sail and...go!
Hobie launched a chain of dealerships and retail stores and established a series of clothing licenses to stock the shops with soft goods, complementing the hard goods categories of Hobie-branded surfboards, skateboards and sailboats. In just over 20 years, Hobie Alter had created a model for everything the surf lifestyle and industry stands for today, doing exactly what he wanted to do - having fun, in, on, and around the ocean.
Hobie, known by just one name all over the world- like a rock star-has an epic life story. This 12" x 9" hardcover book shows how it all came to be in 17 chapters of engaging text plus 585 photographs and illustrations. Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) is hosting a book launch for Paul Holmes' HOBIE: Master of Water, Wind and Waves. The event will take place at SHACC, located at 110 Calle Iglesias, San Clemente, California on Saturday, December 7, 2013 from 5:00 to 9:00 pm, with special guest - the man himself - Hobie Alter.
Books will be available for purchase during the evening with a portion of the proceeds benefitting SHACC. Out of respect, SHACC asks that guests do not request Hobie's autograph or to sign the book or any other memorabilia. The event will feature music, appetizers and a no host bar (beer and wine only).