June 23, 2022 6 min read

In the year 1976, Tom Morey stepped out of his car and paddled out to Honels, a popular surf spot on the western side of the island. He rode the board around in knee-high surf to learn the sport. Morey then signed a deal with G&S Surfboards to manufacture and distribute the boards. He sold thousands of bodyboarding boards to people all over the world, and many credit him as the pioneer of the sport.

Tom Morey Invented Bodyboarding

When Tom Morey was just 14 years old, he built his first boogie board out of scrap polyethylene foam and covered it with newspaper. The board became a hit, and Morey trademarked the name, calling it the Morey Boogie. The first finished boards cost $37, Morey's age at the time. Morey hoped this would be enough to cover his costs and turn a profit. Today, bodyboards are made by scores of companies.

In 1971, Morey took a piece of surfboard foam and cut it in half. He was able to catch a few good rides on Makaha, but the wind was too strong to make it safe. Then he paddled out on the homemade board. His wife, Marchia, was eight months pregnant and was a surfer herself. The two began to talk about the importance of equality in race and gender and a documentary was produced about this journey.


The invention of bodyboarding began with a six-foot board with a skeg and a soft polyethylene deck. Later, Morey added a nose tucked underneath the board to make it easier to paddle out and jump. The board became so popular, that he eventually started a factory in Carlsbad, Calif., and sold 80,000 boards by the end of the 1977 season. He even claimed that Boogie Boarding had temporarily replaced skateboarding.

The modern bodyboard was invented by Morey on the California shores. His first board was six feet long and made of soft polyethylene foam, with a PVC pipe holding it together. His first board was called the S.N.A.K.E. (side navel arm knee-elbow), and his initials are now synonymous with the sport. However, more recent inventions like the octopus-shaped board called the M.B. have made the sport much more accessible.

Charlie Holt Redefined the Art of Riding a Bodyboard

Charlie Holt is a Port Macquarie native who oozes style in every turn and has redefined the art of riding bodyboards. This incredible video from Samuel Rutherford features Holt riding his own Manta board and shows just how versatile and fun bodyboarding can be. The footage is edited by Samuel Rutherford and features an unmatched level of control. To watch it, simply click on the play button below.

Phyllis Dameron Was the First Woman to Ride Waimea Bay on a Bodyboard

Phyllis Dameron was born in Pasadena, California, but grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she learned to surf on rubber mats, before bodyboards were invented by Tom Morey in 1971. She had an athletic body and a love for dance, so she learned to bodysurf as early as the 1960s, while still surfing on rubber mats.

Phyllis would customize her boards by cutting holes in the deck and adding a wrist rope to hold them better. Unlike other female bodyboarders, she was never sponsored and entered no contests. She simply did what she enjoyed, and she became one of the best bodyboarders in history.

In the late 1970s, Phyllis Dameron was the only woman to ride the big waves of Waimea Bay on a bodyboard. Her success led to the rise of other female bodyboarders, including Mariana Nogueira, Glenda Koslowski, and Stephanie Petterson. In 1990, Petterson won the first official World Championship for Women's Bodyboarding at Pipeline and the beginning of the longest-running women's wave sport in history. Today, Alexandra Rinder is the top female bodyboarder and Sari Ohhara is the third-placed World Champion.

Waimea's Pipeline was the first beach for a bodyboard. A Hawaiian lifeguard named Mark Cunningham was considered the world's most experienced bodysurfer from the 1970s to the early 1990s. From there, the sport's dominating presence became Mike Stewart, a nine-time world champion. He was also the first to do a barrel roll at Pipeline.

Phyllis Dameron Was the First Woman to Reach the Finals in the 1997 MoreyWorld Champs at Pipeline

Phyllis Dameron was born in Pasadena, California, but grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she learned to surf on rubber mats before bodyboards were invented by Tom Morey in 1971. Dameron had an athletic body and paddled out when most male bodyboarders stayed on the beach. Her love of bodyboarding and dancing led her to customize her boards by cutting holes in the deck and adding a wrist rope. Unlike the other female bodyboarders in her sport, Dameron never entered or was sponsored, despite her ability to dominate the competition.

Phyllis Dameron, known as Xandinho, became the first woman to reach the finals in this championship. She is considered one of the best bodyboarders of all time by Guilherme Tamega. Her bodyboarding talent paved the way for more women to get the recognition they deserve. She was the first woman to reach the finals of the 1997 Morey World Champs at Pipeline.

Bodyboarders have become pioneers of difficult surf locations and have earned a place in the history books. The emphasis of the sport is on aerial maneuvers on heavy waves, and female bodyboarders have carved their own niches. Phyllis Dameron was the first woman to ride Waimea Bay on a bodyboard in the late 1970s, and Stephanie Petterson won the 1990 World Championship of Women's Bodyboarding.

person on wake boared

Phyllis Dameron was the only woman to make the finals in the 1997 Morey World Championships at Pipeline. She was the first American woman to make the finals in a World Championship.

Her achievements in surfing and bodyboarding have inspired many other women to pursue their dreams. She won the 1997 Morey World Championships.


There are many different types of board sports out there, but few are as thrilling as bodyboarding. However, it requires little more than a bodyboard and vest and bodyboard cover. This unique sport has a rich history that dates back to the early 20th century. While the exact origins of bodyboarding are up for debate, there are a few key events that have shaped the sport as we know it today.

From early pioneers to modern-day athletes, bodyboarding has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time. We hope you enjoyed our look at the history of this thrilling sport.

Questions and Answers

Who invented the modern bodyboard?

In 1971, Australian surfer Tom Morey was vacationing in Hawaii when he came up with the idea for the modern bodyboard. Morey had been body surfing for years, and he wanted to create a board that would give him more control and maneuverability in the water. He took a piece of polyurethane foam and shaped it into a small surfboard, which he then covered with wax. The bodyboard was born! Morey went on to start his own bodyboard company, Morey Boogie, and today, bodyboarding is enjoyed by surfers all over the world.

body boarding on the sea

When was bodyboarding invented?

Most people know surfing; it’s a classic activity that has been around for centuries. But bodyboarding is a relative newcomer to the scene, having only been invented in the 1970s. While the exact date is disputed, most agree that bodyboarding began on Oahu’s North Shore in the early 1970s. bodyboarding quickly caught on as a popular activity, thanks to its easy learning curve and the fact that it can be done in a variety of waves and conditions.

Today, bodyboarding is a major sport with its own professional tours and competitions. So next time you’re at the beach, don’t be afraid to try something new and give bodyboarding a try.

Where is bodyboarding popular?

Bodyboarding is popular in many different places around the world. In the United States, bodyboarding is popular in Hawaii and California. In Australia, bodyboarding is popular in Queensland and New South Wales. In Europe, bodyboarding is popular in Portugal and Spain. Bodyboarding is also popular in many other countries, such as Brazil, South Africa, and Japan.

Where did boogie board originate?

The Boogie board is a surfboard that originates from the Hawaiian Islands. It is said that the Boogie board was first invented in the early 1920s by Duke Kahanamoku, who is known as the "Father of Modern Surfing". The Boogie board was originally made from scraps of wood that were leftover from the construction of surfboards. Duke Kahanamoku would shape these pieces of wood into a surfboard that was smaller and more maneuverable than a traditional surfboard. The Boogie board quickly became popular with surfers and continues to be one of the most popular surfboards today.

Author - Aleksandra Djurdjevic
Aleksandra Djurdjevic          

Senior Content Creator

Aleksandra Djurdjevic is a senior writer and editor, covering surf, kayak and various watersports activities. She has previously worked as ESL teacher for English Tochka. Aleksandra graduated from the Comparative Literature department at the Faculty of Philosophy in Serbia. Aleksandra’s love for the ocean / rivers, getting out waves, season after season, seeking epic adventures across the globe helps her continue to be a top expert at CSG.

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