Dana Point Hobie store to host Surfing Heritage and Cultural Center's Hobie Alter tribute
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 27 May, 2015 - San Clemente, California - Today it was announced that Hobie Surf Shops and the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) have collaborated to install a new display inside the Hobie Shop in Dana Point, honoring Hobie Alter and his many innovations in surfing, skateboarding and sailing.
This is the second installment of SHACC’s “Surfing Innovators Series.” The new display features historic artifacts and surf culture memorabilia, including the very first balsa wood surfboard shaped by Hobie.
At just 17, Hobie started shaping and glassing balsa wood surfboards in the garage of his family’s Laguna Beach home. Fed up with the wood shavings and resin on the floor, Hobie’s father helped him set up in a small workshop and surfboard shop on Coast Highway in Dana Point.
“At that time, we were just kids trying to figure out what we wanted to do in life,” recalls Dick Metz, Founder of SHACC and a lifelong friend and business partner to Hobie.
“He was always a tremendously creative thinker and avid reader of Popular Science and Popular Mechanics,” Metz added.
“His idea of fun was tinkering in his workshop, and making scale models of projects he would dream up in his head. He was a self-taught inventor and innovator, like a Thomas Edison or Henry Ford; he wanted nothing to do with accounting or finance, and that made us good business partners,” Metz said.
In 1958, Hobie and Gordon Clark began experimenting with foam and fiberglass, creating boards that were lighter, more maneuverable, and faster to produce than balsa wood boards. Fueled by the popularity of the film Gidget, the demand for the new foam boards skyrocketed. In the early ‘60s, Metz helped Hobie open a series of successful surf shops in California, Hawaii and on the East Coast.
Hobie also helped popularize skateboarding in the mid 1960s. He joined forces with the Vita-Pakt citrus juice brand to create the Hobie Super Surfer skateboard and a skateboarding team, which promoted the sport across the country. “Sidewalk surfing” became a nationwide phenomenon.
In the late 1960s, Hobie designed and produced the Hobie Catamaran, a small inexpensive sailboat that revolutionized the elitist world of yachting. He would later launch a chain of dealerships and retail stores and establish a series of clothing licenses to stock the shops with soft goods, complementing the hard goods categories of the Hobie brand. In just over 20 years, Hobie had created a business model that would be widely emulated in the surf and beach lifestyle industry.