Boogie board: an expression coined by Tom Morey when he invented the bodyboard | Photo: Shutterstock

Why is a bodyboard called a boogie board? Is bodyboarding one of those sports with several names? Is boogie boarding used in a derogatory way?

The first thing we must dissect is the word itself. What does "boogie" really mean? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the expression "boogie" means:

  • A style of fast blues music played on the piano;
  • A dance to rock or pop music;
  • To leave or move fast from a place;

The linguists believe that the word "boogie" could have originated in the early 20th century in the United States, with a slightly different meaning - a party - to the one used today.

However, the expression "boogie board" only emerged a few decades later after Tom Morey invented the bodyboard on July 9, 1971.

In fact, the expression was once a trademark for Morey Boogie. Morey had created the object, but he needed a catchy name for it.

Inspired by a music movement - boogie-woogie - that became popular between World War I and II, the ingenious engineer came up with the word "boogie" for his soft board.

"Boogie swung, and it had a wiggle and a jiggle to it. It was perfect," Tom Morey once stated.

Boogie boarding: the art of riding waves in prone position | Photo: Venn/Surfing Australia

Boogie Boarding

So, following the same logic, the act of boogie boarding could only mean bodyboarding, the noble art of riding waves on your belly in prone mode.

What is the difference between bodyboarding and boogie boarding?

Many bodyboarders don't actually enjoy the term "boogie board," and some will even consider it offensive and derogatory.

The truth is that the subtle linguistic nuance is often used by professional bodyboarders and industry professionals to describe the gear (boogie board, or boogieboard) and the sport itself (boogie boarding, boogying, or boogie boarding) in a respectful manner.

When Tom Morey shaped the first-ever bodyboard and founded Morey Boogie, he was undoubtedly thinking of taking the sport to the highest possible level rather than developing a toy for the kids to play on their warm summer holidays.

Interestingly, Morey "never liked the word 'bodyboarder.' It sucks."

Just because bodyboarders are sometimes called "spongers" and "boogers" by some of their longtime rivals, it doesn't mean they won't be the first to elevator drop into impossible, vertical mountains of water.

Bodyboarders ride what surfers can only dream of.

Rest assured, bodyboarding enthusiasts: boogie boarding still is the ultimate wave sport, and boogie boards will always be weapons of mass shredding - no doubt about that.

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