Blame it on the Boogie

Sunset Beach. Photo: Jeff Divine
Tom Morey, 1975
Tom Morey. Photo: Bill Delaney
Jack Lindholm. Photo: Lance Trout
Mike Stewart of Hawaii

The bodyboard was invented by longtime Southern California surfer Tom Morey, a charismatic USC math grad who’d worked as a Douglas Aircraft engineer before opening a Ventura County surf shop in 1964. Equal parts scientist, futurist, and carnival barker, Morey spent the rest of the '60s bringing strange new products to the surf marketplace. First was the Trisect, a three-piece travel surfboard that fit into a suitcase. Then Slipcheck, a liquid board traction sold in a ball-rattling aerosol can...

The Morey Boogie was cheap, safe, indestructible, easily transportable, fun from the moment it hit the water—a surfboard was none of those things—and the bodyboard industry began posting sales figures the likes of which boardmakers only dreamt of.