Hobie Alter, inventor of revolutionary surfboard and sailboat, dies at 80

By Rebekah Penner ,

Hobie Alter, the man who revolutionized the surfboard and sailboat industry, has died. Alter died at the age of 80 at his Palm Desert home after a long battle with cancer.

A surfer, Alter, developed the Hobie Cat, a very popular lightweight sailboat in the 1960’s reported The New York Times.

Prior to the Hobie Cat, Alter worked in a small factory in Southern California. Alter then changed surfing by introducing a lightweight board that was both easy to maneuver and cheap, according to The Associated Press.

Creating about 250 surfboards a week in his early years, Alter benefited when the surfing movie, Gidget came out, sending many to flock the beach in search of buying a surf board and learning the sport. With Alter’s reasonably priced boards his brand took off.

Alter was honored on the Huntington Beach’s Surfing Walk of Fame in 1997 and the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2011.

Alter is survived by his wife, Susan, his sons, Hobie Jr, and Jeff, his daughter, Paula, his sisters, Lillian and Caroyln. He was also the grandfather to eight and great-grandfather of one.

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