10’6 Hobie Balsa 1950s

So this found its way into my shop today. 10’6 (if the nose was not broken off) made out of full length planks.  The guy who brought it to me says it’s a Hobie 1950’s, it has been in his family since the beginning, passed down used and abused living a full life as a surfboard. I guess with good intentions he decided to strip the glass, but then realized he was in over his head. He lost the logo, which he said was deck side on the tail and had a number of 132. He wants me to finish taking the old glass off and shape it into something easier to ride. It could be re templated easily into a 10 ft to get rid of the nose damage and enjoyed for another 70 years. Taking some of the belly out of the bottom and slimming up the tail block would also make it easier to ride. Is this appropriate or sacrilege? I don’t have a good feeling of how badly this is damaged (get what I can out of it and keep it providing joy on the water or does this wood demand all attempts to be brought back to its exact original state)?

A couple more pics…

Does anyone have a contact at Hobie? I would be interested to get their take on it…

Why?? Auction it & buy a balsa blank with the proceeds. Jim philips could restore that board. I wouldn’t reshape it no way no how. Tragic about the strip job / logo though.

What Huck said. It doesn’t look like the wood has a lot of rot. No way to know how bad the glass was at this stage.

If it really is a Hobie the owner did something totally foolish.

Never should have touched it since he apparently had no idea what he was doing. At least the fin is still there.

He is not interested in selling this. He wants his kids and cousins and grandkids (one day) to ride the same wood that his grandfather/uncles/etc enjoyed time on the water with. 

Restore yes. Reshape NO! 

It wouldn’t take much balsa to replace the rotted wood and bring it back to its original shape.  Stagger the joints and glue new wood with epoxy.  I’m sure that there is a Hobie officianoto out there that can help with the original shape/templet.

I’d be inclined to go almost original . The nose damage isn’t that bad at all . Ive restored far worse than that over the years . If the owner is adamant about keeping it as a rider , split it , chamber it , maybe do a triple stringer cedar glue up , and I’m sure he’ll love it. Maybe hobie can supply a hew tail logo , if it is authentic?

Contact  The Surfing Heritage Foundation, aka SHACC.     They have near identical Hobie Balsas, on display.      I agree, repair and restore.      I believe that board is from a time when Hobie was still using a rubber stamp and black ink, to label his boards.     Really good early number.

I’m with uncle G, restore to rideable condition then. Be a heck of an awesome project, once in a lifetime. How fantastic it came your way!

Back in the very early balsa days of his business Hobie went thru a couple different logos. 

Sorry to say, because of the Covid Crisis SHACC wil be closed until further notice; but you do have access to these pages of early Hobie balsas:  

The first one is closest in shape







Thank you everyone for the replies! I appreciate the opinions, insight, and resources! Here is another piece to the puzzle. We found a picture of the logo. The glass was so damaged that it’s hard to see the detail…

  That photo is the rubber stamp on the bare wood, that I commented about.      The surface of the wood came up when the glass was peeled off.       There is no way to prevent it.

I like kayu’s suggestion cuz it would lighten it up & freshen up the look without changing the shape & general appearance

it took me time but the magic 8 ball

memory came up with the hobie sense’

correct me please oh great swami’s


DANNY BRAWNER pray he still lives

a comfortable and extended life,

he may even do or direct the restoration.


 trade the guy a new board

old dodge powerwagon tailgate

birthday party for is mom,

protect this relic from further stupidity…


dear spirit of admirable hobie

strike down all infidels

before they defile this threatened

soul incarnate let it live to be a hundred years old.


filling in for the great favog.




I own number 307!  Don’t reshape that thing!

Whoa!  The board I just posted was owned by Danny.  Crazy that you mentioned him here.  This is his 1954 Hobie surfboard that he had as a gremmie.  Hobie shaped it for him when he was in his early teens.  Hence why it is so small.  This is a 7’10"

I have a rice paper lam of that stamp, but without any number.