Paper surfboard: it could only come from the mind of Tom Morey

Three years before inventing the boogie board, Tom Morey adventured himself into the making of a paper surfboard. Have you asked for buoyancy and flotation?

In 1965, surfing was exploding in the West Coast of USA. After being exported from Hawaii, the sport of riding waves was building a proper surf culture, in California, with its unique lifestyle and emerging surf industry.

The Detroit-born innovator started surfing in 1952, at the age of 18. Two years later he kicked off his endless talent for inventing and re-designing shapes and formulas in surfing.

Using resin impregnated cardboards, Tom Morey produced the world's first paper surfboard, which became a TV commercial, in 1966. The unusual surfboard worked, despite all the criticism, and was marketed by the International Paper Company.

"I built the board from their cardboard and it actually surfed. The wind was howling, a huge 1000mm lense aimed at me, from down wave. The director said, 'Go!' and I swing around, stuff, catch, pop-up, crank right, trim, squat and scoot," explains Morey, after watching the TV commercial, years later.

"About six perfect seconds go by. Trimming, dropping, and then I swing it up over and glide to a graceful end. Totally missed the shot. Thereafter, a comedy of errors."

"Yet still, Al Jenkins, the producer, somehow patched together a workable commercial. Look closely and you'll note in the closing scene I'm paddling back out on half board", reveals Tom Morey.

There was a goal behind the paper surfboard. The company wanted to prove how a box on the loading dock in the rain wouldn't dissolve into slop, as would a normal box. Top quality waterproof materials.

In the end, Tom Morey shaped three paper surfboards. The first plank weighed 54 lbs and he managed to surf waves, at Makaha.

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