The Morey Boogie was created in Hawaii in the mid 70’s by Thomas Hugh Morey – as such Tom would go on to become the founding father of the bodyboarding community. Yes, it was originally called a Bodyboard but Tom is a very talented music tragic and so he called his invention, the Boogie Board. How cool!
He began as a little grommet who enjoyed surfing on his dads back at beaches surrounding Detroit, Michiganwhere his passion for the art of surfing really started, then came second in the Green Valley LAKE paddleboard race at age 11, began board surfing in 1952 and wake surfed behind a yacht in 1955.
Several years later, he went on to graduate as a qualified Mathematician from the University of Southern California. These skills would later become pivotal to the success of his inventions.
From there he began working a stable job in composite manufacturing and engineering at Douglas Aircraft. This experience gave him essential knowledge about post-war materials and aerodynamics.
He took this knowledge and combined it with his love of surfing and ran for the hills to start his very own business. (It’s here we love his story even more so)
Over the years Morey pumped out pretty some significant inventions including the first ever ‘concave nose pocket’ (1954), the “Wing Tip” (1955), the interchangeable fin system (1964), the paper surfboard (1965), the bodyboard (1971) and ultimately the essence of today’s soft board technology in 1974-76.
But the body board was his baby. Initially, he developed a six-foot board with skegs, with an epoxy glass bottom and soft polyethylene deck, but the design was a flop. Fortunately, the solution appeared to be simple. He just cut a nine-foot piece of foam into two pieces.
He shaped the board using an iron and some newspaper and put it to the test at a local surf spot located on the west side of Honolulu called Honels.
It was a success in the water, it was safe and could be made cheaply. It was everything he could have hoped for.
By the end of 1977, Morey traveled to California to show off his latest invention and left with a signed contract from G&S surfboards to mass produce them.
His initial name for the board was the S.N.A.K.E which stood for Side, Navel, Arm, Knee, Elbow – which were the five points of contact you made when riding the board but just ‘Boogie’ sounded better to others so he went with it. Music anyone…..?
An advertisement was placed in Surfer Magazine and he soon became inundated with orders.
Initially, the Morey Boogie Boards were shaped by Tom in his backyard, glued together and finished off with tape. But after manufacturing so many, he noticed the glue was starting to affect his health. Instead, he started selling the board as a kit made up of the core, tape, and skins – eliminating the need for glue.
Fast forward just a few months and the boards were flying out the door. In 1977 alone, he had sold 80,000 units and had a team of over 100 employees.
Pictured below the Morey Boogie 136 (1979) in green on display at The Boarding Office Club Hotel – Nambour while at The Boarding Office Mooloolaba we have the earlier Morey Boogie 132 BE, in orange.
Tom Morey with the first ‘Boogie’ 1971
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