Hobie Alter (1933-2014) had a goal: He never wanted to wear hard-soled shoes or work east of the Pacific Coast Highway. So he started the very first
HOBIE ALTER Designed The Hobie Cat
California surf shop, carving surfboards out of balsa. To avoid
wasting two-thirds of the wood on shaping, he pioneered
the switch to polyurethane foam, which quickly became the
new standard in surfboard construction. After that success, he
turned his attention to another water-based passion, sailing,
and in 1968 created the iconic Hobie Cat. The lightweight,
twin-hulled sailboat achieved worldwide popularity (more
than 200,000 units built) and is credited with bringing high-
performance sailing from the yacht club to the masses. His
inspiration? The Hobie Cat was a way for surfers to enjoy
windy days. Plus, it kept him in flip-flops.
OLE & BESS EVINRUDE For The Love Of Power
It all began one hot day when Ole Evinrude rowed across a Wisconsin lake to bring Bess Cary some ice cream. By the time he arrived, it was soup. At the time, Evinrude, a Norwegian immigrant with a third-grade education, was a machinist
with two failed businesses behind him. But the ice-cream incident inspired him; in
spare moments, he created an unwieldy “coffee can” motor for watercraft propulsion,
and tested it on a nearby river. Loudly.
“Ole,” said Bess. “If that thing does what you say, people will buy it. Clean it up. Make it
better.” He did, building 10 1.5-horsepower motors, by hand. They weighed 62 pounds and
sold for $62. In 1909, barely a year after the Model T Ford debuted,
he founded Evinrude Motor Company, and the first production version of his outboard was built.
From beginning to end, Ole Evinrude’s success was linked
with Bess, who’d become his wife and business manager. When
she wrote the first ad copy for the Evinrude Motor Company,
the competitors weren’t other outboard manufacturers – there
weren’t any. They were oars. Within three years, the company was delivering thousands of motors. Over the next two
decades, the Evinrudes sold the business and created others,
always together. Eventually, they formed the Outboard Motors
Corporation (OMC). Bess died in 1933, at only 48. Not surprisingly, just a year later, Ole followed her. He was 57.
In our next issue,
anniversary celebration, and will
introduce you to
more of the 50
who’ve moved the
needle in our sport.
— THE EDITORS
“A lot of people helped me along the way.
I’m just trying to return the favor.”
“Throw the oars away!”
— BESS EVINRUDE