CARLSBAD — For 50 years beachgoers have enjoyed the sun and waves aboard a revolutionary invention by Tom Morey.
The 86-year-old Carlsbad resident unveiled the Boogie Board in 1971 and changed the landscape of how adults and kids enjoy the ocean.
Morey, along with others, discussed the history of the Boogie Board during a celebration on July 10 at St. Michael’s by-the-Sea in Carlsbad Village to several hundred people in attendance.
The respect for Morey was evident as people from as far as England and Hawai’i traveled to Carlsbad to meet and get autographs from the popular board’s inventor.
“There are so many ways to have great fun,” Morey said. “One day I just went down to the shore, and I realized I don’t need anything. I have this magical reality that I have. Just make your own enjoyment.”
In July 1971, Morey cut a nine-foot piece of closed-cell polyethylene packing foam in half. Morey drew the curves and the next day shaped the bodyboard with a square tail, slightly rounded nose and a sharp trailing edge, according to a story in Surfer Today.
At the event, though, fans got to listen to tales of the history of the board, along with the experiences from professional riders on how the invention shaped their lives.
Longtime Carlsbad resident Carlton Lund recalled how he lived around the corner from Morey in 1972. Lund befriended Morey and soon was riding some of the first iterations Morey had developed.
“He about one year under his hat on the boards,” Lund said. “As soon as I saw that board, I bought one. The Boogie Board was a part of my life almost every day.”
Jeff Rose, who made the trek from Santa Cruz, said he got his first board when he was 10 and it changed his life. Two of his friends told him about the event, so they decided to come down together, but ultimately Rose was the only one to make it.
Regardless, Rose said once he got his first board, he was hooked. The activity also led Rose into surfing, but he continues to buy and use Boogie Boards.
“It’s time to come and celebrate what he’s done for us and bringing us together in that spirit,” Rose said. “I think I got a Boogie Board the next Christmas and the rest is history. I surf more, but I still bodyboard.”
Morey’s creation has a global reach and connected people with the ocean in new ways, Lund and Rose said. Rose said the board brings out the “spirit” in someone and connecting people from all over the world.