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News Releases

November 20, 2018


A new exhibition featuring Hobart “Hobie” Alter, a Southern California native known for inventing the “Hobie Cat” catamaran and changing the way people use the water for surfing and sailing is on display at John Wayne Airport (JWA). Ticketed passengers can view the exhibit through Spring 2019.

Hobie Alter and surfboard

More images can be seen here.

“Hobie Alter had a major impact on the local and worldwide surf and ocean watersport culture of today,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairman Andrew Do. “With 42 miles of breathtaking beaches and home to many national surf and watersport competitions, Orange County residents and visitors alike will enjoy this exhibition celebrating the countless ways that modern surf culture reflects Hobie Alter’s influence.”

Passengers strolling through the Vi Smith Concourse Gallery located 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 will have the opportunity to view fun and interesting panel displays depicting Hobie’s achievements.

The exhibition includes photographs and memorabilia celebrating the lifetime achievements of a watersports pioneer.  Summarized descriptions of some of the displays include:

  • Laguna Beach early 50’s. Hobie and his wife Sharon with friends in a photoshoot for Kodak. This photo would later hang in New York City’s Grand Central station.
  • A young Hobie carries suitable balsa “sticks” to be glued and joined to produce a balsa surfboard blank.
  • The genesis of a surfboard from foam blank to ready for the surf (stages of surfboard production).
  • Hobie stands in front a sign he made for the Hobie Surf Shop in Honolulu, Hawaii.
  • Hundreds of surfers and paddlers gathered around a Hobie Cat catamaran off the shore of Doheny State Beach to celebrate the life of surf and sailing entrepreneur and pioneer Hobie Alter.

To learn more about JWA’s Art Programs, visit


John Wayne Airport (SNA) is owned by the County of Orange and is operated as a self-supporting enterprise that receives no general fund tax revenue. The Airport serves more than 10 million passengers annually and reaches more than 20 nonstop destinations in the United States, Canada and Mexico. More information can be found at Like us on, or follow us on Twitter @johnwayneair and Instagram @johnwayneair.