Hobart 'Hobie' Alter Introduced Surfing To The Masses

Mar 31, 2014
Originally published on March 31, 2014 6:55 am
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And our last word in business today is: Foam and Fiberglass.

We say this in honor of Hobie Alter, who has died at the age of 80. Mr. Alter is considered the Henry Ford of surfboards.


Before Alter came along, many surfboards were made of balsa wood and then Alter started using foam as part of the construction. Just as Ford's Model T brought the automobile to the masses, Alter's cheaper and more flexible surfboards allowed entirely new classes of people to wipe out.

GREENE: He is also credited with bringing high-performance sailing to the masses with a popular fiberglass sailboat called the Hobie Cat.

INSKEEP: That's why it's called that.

GREENE: It is, indeed.

INSKEEP: Hobie Alter.

GREENE: Hobie Alter. That's the business news on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm David Greene.

INSKEEP: And I'm Steve Inskeep.

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