Innovation, Ingenuity and Inspiration in Surfing and Sailing

Very few individuals will have as much impact on a sport as Hobart “Hobie” Alter did for water sports. He not only revolutionized surfing, and was at the epicenter of what would eventually become a multi-billion-dollar industry in Southern California, he also expanded the adventure of sailing with his invention of the Hobie Catamaran.

From now through spring 2019, the history of Hobie Alter’s life and legacy will be on display in John Wayne Airport’s Vi Smith Concourse Gallery. Ticketed passengers can view the exhibit on the Departure (upper) Level, across from Gates 2 through 5 in Terminal A, Gates 18 through 21 in Terminal C, and in the free-standing display cases across from Gate 14.

The exhibit includes a comprehensive narrative of Hobie’s early beginnings creating the first polyurethane foam surfboard in the late 1950’s, to the opening of his surf shop in Dana Point CA, which ultimately established “surf lifestyle” apparel, and through his invention of a beach launchable catamaran in 1968 and the multi-colored sails in the 1970’s.

As exemplified in the exhibit, Hobie impacted, influenced and created the worldwide surf and watersport culture of today. For more information, visit To learn more about JWA’s Arts programs, visit

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