Daily Dirt: Hobie Founder Passes Away, Consumer Confidence Up, Speed Skiing Record, Glamping

get more from BRO

Your weekly new’s update for the week of April 2, 2014.


Watersports cultural icon Hobart “Hobie” Alter passed away on Saturday at the age of 80. Alter began shaping surfboards and later an entire watersports culture, a story recently revealed in his biography, “Hobie: Master of Water, Wind and Waves.”

Born October 31, 1933, Hobie grew up on Laguna Beach and began shaping balsawood longboards for friends in the 1950s, opening the area’s first surf shop in Dana Point in 1954. With friend Gordon “Grubby” Clark the two pioneered the development of the foam surfboard and Hobie quickly became the number one surfboard brand in the world. The list of legendary surfers that shaped boards and rode for Hobie is a veritable Who’s Who of surfing legend.

In the late 1960’s Alter unveiled his namesake “Hobie Cat” performance sailing catamaran – bringing sailing to the masses with a boat that could be launched from any beach. He also invented the “Hobie Hawk” remote controlled glider, the “Hobie Super Surfer” skateboard, a 33-foot mono-hull sailboat, a “Float Cat” for fly-fishing, and the “Katie Sue” 60-foot power catamaran.

His goal to “not wear hard-soled shoes or work east of California’s Pacific Coast Highway” had become a reality. He introduced a brand of active lifestyle products that improved the lives of thousands worldwide. Alter received the Waterman Achievement award from the Surfing Industry Manufacturers Association in 1993, was inducted into the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in 1997, and was admitted into the National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2011.


Good news for outdoor apparel and gear, along with other industries. The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, which had decreased in February, improved in March. The Index now stands at 82.3 (1985=100), up from 78.3 in February. It was the strongest reading since the index stood at 87.3 in January 2008, just as the Great Recession was beginning.


Clocking in at 156.8 mph, Italian Simone Origone broke his own world speed skiing record on Monday at Chabrieres in the French Alps.

The Chabrieres slope drops more than 1,600 feet in three quarters of a mile and has a maximum grade of 98 percent. In comparison, most black runs in the United States have a maximum grade of about 35 percent. Whoa.

Origone’s previous record was 156.2 mph, set in 2006. Check out the video here.


Glamorous camping, or “glamping,” aims to get individuals who are timid about an overnight outdoors experience more comfortable in the wild.

Companies like Solid Ground Shelters boast full-range camp set up and preparation, along with tear down after your trip is over. They offer homey amenities such as a real mattress and high quality linens to top off the experience, whether in your backyard or at a music festival.

Campground attendance is strong in Virginia, with state parks registering 712,609 campers in 2013, and another 379,423 that stayed the night in cabins. While certainly not roughing it, glamping adds just another facet to the state’s bustling outdoor culture.

More on this topic


in case you missed it

Bike Salem in Virginia’s Blue Ridge

Find an adventure that fits your speed when you visit Virginia’s Blue Ridge, the only IMBA Silver-Level Ride Center on the East...

Relax, Recharge, and Reset in Highland County

Wanderlove is about doing what you love with the people you love.  Experience the unspoiled views and hidden gems in our mountain...

Bike Rockingham County, VA

In the heart of the Shenandoah Valley, bounded by two magnificent mountain ranges and the impressive Shenandoah River, Rockingham County, Va. is...

WanderLove Is Calling You to the Shenandoah Spirits Trail

WanderLove is about reconnecting with what you love. Experience mountainous trails, roadside stands, and all of the winding roads in between when...