Tom Morey, One Of Surfing's Early Geniuses And Inventor Of The Boogie Board, Dead At 86 - Stab Mag
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Tom Morey, One Of Surfing’s Early Geniuses And Inventor Of The Boogie Board, Dead At 86

Surf world mourns beloved inventor, designer, musician, the man responsible for the boogie board!

elsewhere // Oct 15, 2021
Words by Ashton Goggans
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Yesterday, at the age of 86, the surfing world lost one of its early geniuses, the man whose last name is forever synonymous with his wildly influential invention, the boogie board, Tom Morey.

According to the OC Register, “Tom Morey inventor of the Boogie Board and one of the most influential inventors in the sport of surfing, died on Thursday, Oct. 14. He was 86.” 

Morey picked up surfing attending USC studying mathematics. In the late-1950s Morey worked for Douglas Aircraft, with “material composites” that would eventually lead to his development of maybe the most famous wave-riding vehicle of all time, the eponymous Morey Boogie, in 1971.

Affordable, easy to ride, less cumbersome than surfboards, safe for kids, the Morey Boogie, more than the Wavestorm or any SUP, opened the floodgates to the world when it came to accessing and riding waves.

Morey tragically sold the brand in 1977, only a few years after starting it, and never saw the financial gain of his invention’s meteoric rise in popular culture.

In an interview with Surfer Today last year, Morey was asked about what challenges are facing boogie boarding in the next 50 years. Ever the futurist, and somewhat of a mystic, Morey was a devoted member of the Baha’i Faith, “a relatively new religion[a] teaching the essential worth of all religions and the unity of all people.”

Here was his response:

“There are a lot of things. But we need to get out of our own way and scratch out the word “bodyboard” and “boogie board” and all that stuff.

We are surfers, and this is all about surfing, whether we’re standing up on huge planks of yesterday or lying down on smaller things that fit the inside of the wave today.

So, that’s the biggest challenge — to get out the terminology that we already abuse and to see that the name of the game is “the free ride.”

As Miki Dora said, “life is a waste of time, and surfing is a great way to waste it.”

We’re here on this planet, finding out as we grow up, thinking that we might be finding out why we’re here, if there is a why.

But from my standpoint, I buy into the fact that absolutely nothing other than we do is to make the best of what we do, to enjoy it, and to teach by it.”

Rest In Power, Tom Morey.

Below are some notable tributes.

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