Obituary: Hobie Alter, surfboard pioneer

PLASTICS NEWS REPORT

Published: April 1, 2014 12:42 pm ET
Updated: April 1, 2014 12:51 pm ET

Related to this story

Topics Obituaries, Recreational/sporting goods

Hobie Alter was just looking for a way to replace balsa wood in the surfboards he made for his friends when he and Gordon “Grubby” Clark developed, through “a top-secret trial and error process” a way to make a polyurethane foam core surfboard.

The core not only made it possible to create smaller and lighter boards, they helped establish a whole new lifestyle built around surfing and the beach.

“Suddenly everyone wanted to be a surfer — and every surfer wanted a Hobie,” according to a history of his surfboard company.

Alter died March 29 at his home in Palm Desert, Calif. He was 80.

In addition to developing and shaping the form core surfboard in 1958, Alter was a competitive surfer and his Hobie brand went on to sponsor upcoming generations of top surfers.

Alter also developed the “Hobie Cat” small sailboat, the “Hobie Hawk” remote-controlled glider, the “Hobie Super Surfer skateboard,” the mono-hull “Float Cat” sailboat for flyfishing and a 60-foot catamaran.

Clark, Alter’s partner in those first boards, went on to form Clark Foam of Liguna Niguel, Calif., which produced foam blanks for decades before closing in 2005.

Hobie Designs has also become a leading developer of stand-up paddleboards.

Alter is survived by his wife Susan, three children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A memorial service will take place at a later time still to be announced in Laguna, Beach, Calif., with a traditional surfer’s “Paddle Out” in front of the family’s home.

An excerpt from the movie "BoardRoom" looks at how Alter and Clark developed their surfboards.

BoardRoom - Legends of Surfboard Shaping: Hobie Alter 1933 - 2014 from FiveSix Productions on Vimeo.


Comments

Obituary: Hobie Alter, surfboard pioneer

PLASTICS NEWS REPORT

Published: April 1, 2014 12:42 pm ET
Updated: April 1, 2014 12:51 pm ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story


More stories

Image

Ameriform plans $7.5 million expansion

October 16, 2014 12:57 pm ET

Ameriform Inc. has earmarked $7.5 million to expand its thermoforming, extrusion and rotational molding operations in Muskegon, Mich.    More

Image

Obituary: William Jordan, UK plastics leader

October 10, 2014 9:44 am ET

William Stanley Jordan, who helped lead one of the United Kingdom firms involved in the development of compression molding, and an early innovator in ...    More

Market Reports

Plastics Recycling Trends in North America

This report is a review and analysis of the North American Plastics Recycling Industry, including key trends and statistics based on 2013 performance. We examine market environment factors, regulatory issues, industry challenges, key drivers and emerging trends in post-consumer and post-industrial recycling.

Learn more

Plastics in Mexico - State of the Industry Report

This report analyzes the $20 million dollar plastics industry in Mexico including sales of machinery & equipment, resins and finished products.

Our analysts provide insight on business trends, foreign investment, top end markets and plastics processing activity. The report also provides important data on exports, production, employment and value of plastics products manufactured.

Learn more

Plastics Caps & Closures Market Report

The annual recap of top trends and future outlook for the plastics caps & closures market features interviews with industry thought leaders and Bill Wood’s economic forecast of trends in growing end markets. You will also gain insight on trends in caps design, materials, machinery, molds & tooling and reviews of mergers & acquisitions.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

January 14, 2015 - January 14, 2015Plastics in Automotive

February 4, 2015 - February 6, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

June 2, 2015 - June 3, 2015Plastics Financial Summit - Chicago 2015

September 16, 2015 - September 18, 2015Plastics Caps & Closures - September 2015

More Events