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The Complete History of Boogie Boarding

Boogie boarding, also known as bodyboarding, is a water sport that has captured the hearts of beach enthusiasts around the world. It's a thrilling and accessible way to ride the waves, and its history is an intriguing tale of innovation and passion for the ocean. In this article, we will delve into the fascinating history of boogie boarding.

The Birth of Boogie Boarding

Boogie boarding's story begins in the early 1970s in Southern California. Tom Morey, an inventive surfer and entrepreneur, is credited with inventing the boogie board. Morey was inspired by the desire to create a more accessible and fun alternative to traditional surfing.

In 1971, Morey developed the first boogie board, which he initially called the "Boogie." It was a breakthrough in water sports, featuring a small, rectangular, and lightweight foam board with a curved nose and slick bottom. This design allowed riders to catch and ride waves with ease, even if they were not experienced surfers.

The Name "Boogie Boarding"

The term "boogie board" itself has an interesting origin. Tom Morey named it after his love for the blues music genre, often referred to as "boogie-woogie." He thought the name captured the joyful and carefree spirit of the sport, and it stuck.

Boogie Boarding's Popularity Soars

Boogie boarding quickly gained popularity along the California coast and soon spread to other coastal regions in the United States. Its accessibility made it appealing to a broad range of people, from children to adults, and from beginners to seasoned surfers looking for a different kind of thrill.

The sport's simplicity and shorter learning curve meant that enthusiasts could experience the thrill of riding waves without the years of practice required for traditional surfing. This accessibility played a significant role in boogie boarding's rapid growth.

Evolution of Boogie Boards

Over the years, boogie boards have undergone significant technological advancements. The early boards were simple foam constructions, but modern boogie boards now feature materials like polyethylene and fiberglass for enhanced durability and performance. Riders can choose from various shapes and sizes, depending on their preferences and skill levels.

Boogie Boarding Worldwide

Boogie boarding has transcended its American roots and has become a global phenomenon. It's not uncommon to see boogie boarders catching waves on beaches from Australia to Hawaii, from South Africa to Brazil. The sport's inclusivity and the relatively low cost of equipment have contributed to its widespread appeal.

Competitive Boogie Boarding

Boogie boarding also has a competitive side. The sport has its own set of competitions and events, with skilled riders showcasing their talents in various categories, including tricks, aerial maneuvers, and wave-riding skills. These competitions have further solidified boogie boarding's status as a legitimate water sport.


Boogie boarding has come a long way from its humble beginnings on the California coast. What started as an innovative idea from Tom Morey has grown into a global phenomenon, providing countless individuals with hours of fun and excitement in the waves. Its history is a testament to the human spirit of adventure and the enduring connection between people and the sea. Whether you're a seasoned boogie boarder or a newcomer to the sport, one thing is certain – the history of boogie boarding is a story of passion, innovation, and the eternal allure of the ocean.


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