Philip Hoffman (surfing)

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Philip Rube "Flippy" Hoffman (January 24, 1930 – November 10, 2010) was a legendary big wave surfing pioneer and businessman.


Hoffman was born in Glendale, California.[1] Hoffman graduated from Hollywood High School in 1948. Hoffman began surfing off San Onofre, California. In 1953 Hoffman was one of the first surfers to brave the outer reefs of the Oahu's North Shore where he was a big wave surfing pioneer. Hoffman first worked as an abalone fisherman while he was not surfing.

In the late 1950s Hoffman helped run the family textile business Hoffman California Fabrics along with his brother Walter. The company had been started in 1924 by their father Rube Hoffman, originally selling woolen flannel fabrics. Hoffman oversaw the company's business that sold directly to retail stores. He was also involved researching the production processes, and new designs. Hoffman Fabrics was integral in creating and manufacturing surf apparel from the late 1950s onward. In the 1980s the aloha shirt worn by Tom Selleck in the TV series Magnum, P.I. was made from Hoffman fabric. It is now in the Smithsonian Institution.[2]

"When the surf was really big, he'd take off and go surfing," said his brother.[2] Hoffman worked with surfboard designers such as Mickey Munoz, Hobie Alter and Bob Simmons to improve the design of surf boards.

Hoffman died at Mission Viejo, California from pulmonary fibrosis complications.[3] He was survived by his partner Suzy, brother Walter, daughter Dana, and son Marty.[1] His brother's daughter Joyce Hoffman was a champion surfer, and great-grandson Greyson Fletcher a professional skateboarder. Both he and his brother Walter were honored in the surfing walk of fame in 2006 for their contributions to surf culture.[4]


  1. ^ a b "Obituary: Philip Rube Hoffman". November 14, 2010. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Dennis McLellan (November 16, 2010). "Philip 'Flippy' Hoffman dies at 80; big-wave pioneer co-owned surfwear-related fabric company". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  3. ^ Dennis McLellan (November 22, 2010). "Philip 'Flippy' Philip Hoffman, Fearless Surfing Pioneer, Dies at 80". New York Times. Retrieved November 23, 2010.
  4. ^ "Walter and Phillip Hoffman 2006: Surfing is All in the Family". Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame. Retrieved November 23, 2010.

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