July 7, 2011  The Boogie Board is 40  


Tom Morey age 21 1956 


1st two boogies


Early brand

All morning, July 7, 1971, I fiddled with an electric carving knife, pages of the July 5, 1971 Honolulu Advertiser and a borrowed clothes iron in order to shape and seal a big slab of Dow polyethylene foam into something I could surf. By around  1:30 , I pretty much had it!

I'd rough shaped the various contours with the knife, then, with the hot iron, melted tough crusts into these contours. Earlier that morning it had become clear that the foam would melt and stick to the iron unless I did something about it. That's where the newspaper came in. By placing it between the melting foam and iron, the excess gasses could escape. And all the while, the paper prevented the gooey molten foam from sticking to the iron.

By two, I'd had a snack, found my swim fins and paddled out for the first time on ‘Ole #1.

The location was a little break right in front of the house called Honels, Kailua side, Big Island, Hawaii.

The surf was almost nothing with the wind making even that a mess. However, I was able to catch a mushy little two footer straight in. As I knelt in the sand after that first ride I realized that for the first time in years of surfing, I had actually felt the wave, rather than being mushed down in it as in bodysurfing, or suspended above it as on a board. Instead this thing gave me the feeling of the wave's contours.

Another thought followed, “ Wow! This could really turn into something! Maybe I could even earn a living with it!”

Several days later, the surf came up to about four feet, and I paddled out at a popular surf spot down the road, ‘Banyan Tree'. The tide was dropping so the surfers were all leaving the water. All except me! Low tide at Banyan Tree meant trouble; soon the spiny sea urchin covered reefs would only be a foot or so below the waves.

“No problem!”, I thought, “Without a skeg to worry about, I bet I can surf this baby in three inches of water!”

This new kind of surfing device really started to show its colors. Although crude, still it was fast! And it did skim well clear of the shallow reef! Also, I learned that on take off, by bending this flexible material over the top and down onto the face of the wave, I could catch waves that even on a surfboard would have passed unridden under me.

Furthermore, because of the angles I'd shaped into the rails, I could, without a skeg, bank this flexible chuck and thereby develop suction along the inside rail… scoot slick as snot right across the face!

Cow-a-bunga, Dude!

A zillion waves have since passed. The neighborhood manufacturing which Marchia and I later began in our Carlsbad, California garage, turned out a few hundred thousand Morey Boogies. Thereafter, demand ever exceeded supply and our original crew branched into half a dozen different ‘bodyboard' companies… then hundreds. At one time in the ‘80s, there were 124 bodyboard companies in Japan alone!

To date, perhaps 20 maybe 50 million Morey Boogies and clones have been produced. On them, you riders have taken surfing to the far coves of the Seven Seas! Pioneered whole new kinds of surfing, skimming, even sky diving.

Meanwhile, we see the boogie's popularity continue a steady climb. So perhaps in this

perilous time period, where states, nations… entire economic systems are collapsing…maybe what we get from surfing is more than meets the eye.

Consider the changes that have taken place in your own way of thinking.

You and 50 million others out there riding waves from 6 inches to 60 feet tall. Is it possible that this activity is having some influence on world consciousness? I think yes.

Possibly what you're learning about the cycles of waves, ever changing patterns and how to deal with them… subconsciously seeps into everyone's mind.

In any case we surfers repeatedly see how the life and death of any individual wave, such as one's self, is really an illusion… no big deal, the disappearance of a wave from the sea being about the same as the disappearance of one's ‘lap' when he stands.

Individuals? Naw, rather what's taking place are vast and mysterious intersecting forces from the sun, planets and stars; move the tides and drive the winds across supple oceans.

“Radical times” we are told. Huge changes in the affairs of men taking place as states… even whole countries collapse? What should we do?

Well, isn't it just surf; some waves bigger than others? Is it here to be avoided or surfed? For the fun of it, right?