Hobie reunites under single ownership
Iconic watersports brand seeks new corporate partnerships.
The Hobie brand name founded in the 1950s by Hobie Alter is closely linked to the development of numerous watersports products across a wide range of activities – surfing, kayaking and sailing.
For more than 40 years though, ownership of the brand has been split across different companies following the sale of Hobie Cat to outdoor supplier, Coleman, in 1976 while Hobie Alter's sons retained control of the brand's licensing business, Hobie Design.
Now the various parts of the Hobie brand have been reunited under the ownership of the California-based Hobie Cat Company which also controls European and Australasian subsidiaries. According to a company statement, the consolidation will enable Hobie to "continue its strong track record for product innovation while opening new doors for corporate partnerships and growth".
“At long last this iconic American brand has been reunited under one roof in Southern California, where it all began in 1950,” said Doug Skidmore, president, Hobie Cat Company. “Hobie Cat is looking forward to partnering with some of the world’s great companies and brands and remains committed to creativity, the finest quality, and the wonderful spirit that Hobie Alter has embodied for tens of millions of customers, fans and communities throughout these last six decades.”
The Hobie legend began in 1950 when 16-year-old Hobie Alter began shaping balsa wood surfboards in his father’s garage in Laguna Beach, CA. He then went to develop the foam and fiberglass surfboard that quickly became the industry standard and remains the predominant construction method today. In subsequent decades, from surfboards to the ever-popular Hobie Cat sailboat, the Hobie brand has continued to expand into new areas such as kayaks and stand up paddleboards.
According to Steve Fields, managing director of Hobie Cat Australasia, the reunification of the brand will enable the company to further broaden its product range.
“It gives us the go-ahead to do new things,” he said, adding that new products bearing the Hobie name should start appearing on the market over the next one to three years.