My time with Mike Doyle and the bodyboarding pioneers

June 8, 2021 | Bodyboarding
Morey Boogie: the logo designed by Craig Libuse | Art: Craig Libuse

Being with Morey Boogie when they became the first company to put on bodyboard competitions, I got to meet all the emerging stars of the sport.

Most of them were 12 to 16 years old, and some are still revered as the first bodyboarding innovators and pioneers.

People like Jack Lindholm, who first brought serious cred to the possibilities of riding big waves like Pipeline kneeling on a bodyboard; Mike Stewart, who was the kid to beat at every contest for many years; Keith Sasaki, who was an intense competitor, and many others like Ben Severson, JP Patterson, Jay Reale, and David Cunniff.

When Morey Boogie hosted the world championships at Pipeline, they rented several condos at the Turtle Bay Resort to house competitors they flew in from around the world.

I was one of the chaperones along with competition director Mary Lee Christensen. We waited about a week for the surf to get good enough.

The contest had riders from South Africa, Australia, and many from the east and west coast of the United States. Talk about "herding cats," keeping them all busy and out of trouble was a challenge.

I have photos of the competitors hanging around the condo watching bodyboarding on television.

Somehow, cans of beer can be seen in possession of several of them.

Mike Doyle: a prolific wave rider | Photo: Libuse Archive

Mike Doyle: A Timeless Legend

Probably the person I admired most who was associated with Tom Morey and company was Mike Doyle.

He had the kind of charisma that makes him instantly the center of attention when he walks into a room.

I was lucky to be able to do all the ads for his Morey Doyle soft boards, as well as stickers, instructions, posters, etc.

Doyle gave personal surf instruction to me and my wife, which was a real honor.

I always felt that I should try to be fairly good at riding any product I was writing ad copy for.

That included bodyboarding, of course, but also surfing a Doyle soft board, windsurfing on a Windjammer soft sailboard, and riding a Hydroslide kneeboard and Morey's Boat Boogie.

Although it never made it past the prototype versions, I also rode the Morey soft skimboard they came up with.

I had already tried skimboarding for years on wooden boards I made for myself and my friends.

One thing I noted about Mike Doyle was that he wasn't very good at critiquing the development of soft boards.

But Mike was so good. He could ride about anything and make it look good - he was just a natural athlete.

Somebody once said Doyle could paddle out on an old ironing board and get rides so good everybody on the beach would want to run out and buy one too.

He could just instantly adapt to any deficiencies in the design and overcome them with his strength, balance, and skill.

His death from Lou Gehrig's Disease was a real loss for the sport.


Words by Craig Libuse | Former Morey Boogie Art Director

The Summer Surf Gear Guide 2021