Surfboard, sailboat innovator ‘Hobie’ Alter dies

PALM DESERT, Calif. — Hobart Alter, whose development of the foam surfboard and the “Hobie Cat” sailboat brought masses to the water, has died. He was 80.

A statement on the Hobie sporting goods website says Alter died Saturday at his Southern California home. A cause of death was not disclosed. The Orange County Register reports he had been battling cancer.

Alter had his start in the early 1950s crafting wooden surfboards in his family’s Laguna Beach home. When the balsawood used for the boards became scarce, he collaborated with an employee of his surf shop to create surfboards out of polyurethane foam. The lighter, less expensive boards revolutionized surfing, and Hobie became a top surfboard brand.

Alter’s design of the lightweight, affordable “Hobie Cat” is credited with bringing high-performance sailing to the masses.

More in Local News

Families begin relocating from public housing complex

Baker Heights is in need of repairs deemed to costly to make, and will be demolished and replaced.

Trail work by juvenile offenders builds resumes, confidence

Kayak Point trails were built out this year by groups from Denney Juvenile Justice Center.

Herald photos of the week

A weekly collection of The Herald’s best images by staff photographers and… Continue reading

Distress beacon leads rescuers to Pacific Crest Trail hikers

Two men in their 20s had encountered snow and waited two nights for a helicopter rescue.

Volunteers clean up homeless camp infested with garbage

The organization’s founder used to live and do drugs in the same woods.

Everett mayoral campaign is one of the priciest ever

Many campaign donors are giving to both Cassie Franklin and Judy Tuohy.

Arrests made in robbery-turned fatal Everett shooting

A man, 24, and woman, 18, were found at a hotel in Seattle.

Boeing marks the start of 777X production at Paine Field

It took tax breaks and union concessions to land assembly of the company’s new jetliner in Everett.

3 fire departments seek levies to support emergency services

District 25 in Oso is hoping to pass its first fire levy in 22 years.

Most Read