LAGUNA BEACH ( — A man considered by many to be nothing short of a titan and a pioneer in the sailing and surfing worlds was remembered in Laguna Beach Thursday night.

Sailing and surfing enthusiasts alike gathered at the Aliso Creek Inn and Golf course to remember Hobie Alter, who passed away on March 29 at the age of 80, and whose ingenuity forever altered the development of both sports.

In the 1960s, Alter designed the ‘Hobie Cat’; a small sailing vessel that has become the world’s bestselling and most widely sailed catamaran.

Among the people who spoke at the memorial service were friends and family members.

“He respected everybody at all levels of society, and I just think that’s what people should do,” Hobie’s son Jeff Alter said.

Alter, who is also a member of the National Sailing Hall of Fame, established himself in the 1950s, crafting surfboards out of Laguna Beach before beginning to use polyurethane foam, which made the surfboards easier to use.

Alter’s son Jeff, who, along with his brother, now runs his father’s business, has no doubts that his father’s legend will continue to live on.

“There’s a huge following that, you know, will continue,” Alter said.


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