After three months of rehabilitation, a sea lion named after the late surfing icon Hobie Alter was released by Pacific Marine Mammal Center staff into the ocean Wednesday, according to a news release.
"Hobie" weighed a paltry 34 pounds when rescuers found her with a flipper wound April 1 near the Newport Beach Pier, the release said.
The small sea lion was rescued within days of Alter's death at age 80, and the Laguna Beach center's staff felt that naming the year-old pup after him would be a great way to honor the surfer's legacy.
Susan Alter learned of her husband's namesake and offered to sponsor the sea lion's care at the center, which treats marine mammals that wash ashore on Orange County beaches.
Mammal center staff nurtured Hobie back to health with food and medication. She entered the ocean at Crescent Bay Beach, with the Alter family in attendance, weighing 73 pounds.
"The Alter family was thrilled to be part of Hobie the sea lion's rescue and release," the family said in the news release. "She looked very healthy and fit thanks to the excellent and dedicated care she received at PMMC."