Mar 30, 2014

The Innovator & Surf/Sail Legend: Hobie Alter passed away.

Some old fashioned conservative people at times forget about the roots of things they try to keep still & freezed. But if it weren´t for innovative characters like Hobie Alter, the reach Surfing and Catsailing have achieved would have been pretty limited, and both sports/lifestyles quite less popular.

I've been reading surfing history since a kid, and one of the key developments that got more people into the sport was the introduction of light foam core boards.
This foam was developed by Gordon Clark (from Clark Foam) & Hobie Alter, that produced and sold the first foam surfboards back in the 60s.

Surfers back in those days were complete waterman, and Alter went expanding the thrill he was getting out of the sea by building a 14' catamaran. The Hobie 14 was the first boat of the Hobiecat line that changed for ever the sailing scene.

Just like Herreshoff in the 1900s, Alter went challenging the status quo and pursued to get his two hull vessel as popular as his 'Hobie' surfboards. He was the first in the surfing industry to launch specific models, having Phil Edwards (one of the most talented surfers / shapers of his time) as his pal, helped the marketing plan.
Some year ago I saw some factory clip from Hobiecat where Phil was featured shaping an scaled model of the Hobie 18. Phil & Mickey Munoz also helped Hobie with the H16 development. Hobiecat is a Surfer bred & born company.

I got involved into sailing directly to the Hobiecat 16. Previous the H16 my only sail experience was windsurfing. Lets face it, even now there is not much appeal from those not having a traditional sailing background to get involved into sailing as a sport beyond cats. Multihulls are still the sport best asset to attract current & future generations.
You can certainly backtrack the success and exposure of the last Cup in Multis directly to Hobie Alter, among others.

Hobie was always looking for new things, just the other day I wrote on a N20 Foiling article, that he was one of the greatest innovators in both sports.
Here a list of some of his developments from the Surfing heritage Foundation:
The Innovations of Hobie, part 1
The Innovations of Hobie, part 2

Check his history video below. Thousand of sailors & surfers, (even skateboarders)  are in debt with him.
Hobie Alter replicated the Surfer culture & style into sailing, he made it cooler, faster and available to a wider audience.
That was his greatest achievement. 

A book on his life was recently launched. Check & for more info.

Hobie Alter passed away yesterday but his legacy will remain Alive till the end of times.