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Rare Hobie Hawaii Leroy Ah Choy model 7’8 surfboard shaped in 1968. Featuring a transitional era shape, made when surfboards were first starting to be shaped shorter in length. Original box fin converted to glassed on fin.
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History of Hobie surfboards
Hobie is a name that never died. A name that proved there is always more to dream of, always more to achieve. He changed the game repeatedly, each time more remarkable than the last. Born in Ontario California, Hobie spent summers with his family in Laguna Beach where the magic began. In 1953, his father bought him a lot on Pacific Coast Highway and a year later, ‘Hobie Surfboards’ was set up. Successful from the start, Alter sponsored the Hobie Super Surfer skateboard team and hired board-builders such as Reynolds Yater and Phil Edwards. The infamous foam and fiberglass technology was introduced and a strategy was employed to maintain demand and Joe Quigg was brought over from Hawaii. Other big names that joined include Mickey Munoz, Gary Propper, Don Hansen, Dewey Weber, Billy Hamilton, Herbie Fetcher and the Patterson brothers.
A huge breakthrough was made in 1958. Alter was experimenting and trying out different materials and designs with his friend Gordon “Grubby” Clark. They somehow invented polyurethane surfboards that proved to be the most improved kind of surfboards to exist by then. They were lighter and easier to ride in the water than any other kind of surfboard. Naturally, the demand became sky high. Alter was making 250 of these surfboards named Speedo Sponges and Flexi Fliers, each week. It cannot be denied that his understanding of surfing and his ability to shape perfect surfboards came from his own incredible surfing skills. Hobie was the winner of the second Brooks Street contest in Laguna. He also scored positions in two consecutive Makaha International Surfing Championships. Leaving no stone unturned, he even made it to the Guinness Book of World Records for his immaculate surfing.
Just when everyone thought Hobie had achieved everything he could achieve, he stunned once again when he started taking interest in boats. He launched a prototype for a boat that had features similar in nature to his surfboards. It was swift, lightweight and easy to sail in, modeled after a Polynesian twin-hulled catamaran. He called it the ‘Hobie Cat’. It soon had the same effect and result as his surfboards. Hobie once again introduced a new way to beat the wave, altering and adding another dimension to the business. The Hobie Cat turned out to be the most bought and used boat on the market, more than any other sailboat design of the time. It is even said that it’s difficult to find a body of water in the world where a Hobie racing fleet is not present. Alter came up with many more novel creations in the following years including a 33’ monohull, the Hobie Power Skiff, a 60’ ocean voyaging power boat and a multitude of kayaks. To this day, the Hobie symbol is interpreted as a mark of innovation and quality, hand in hand. His achievements and services for the surfing world are undeniable. Sadly, Hobart “Hobie” Alter passed away on March 29th, 2014 though the Hobie name will live on for generations to come. Mr. Alter did not just shape surfboards, he revolutionized the way we perceive surfing, obliterating all limits. A true pioneer.