Pierre-Louis Costes: the French bodyboarder is working with Morey Bodyboards on new products | Photo: PLC Archive

The renaissance of the Morey Boogie brand is underway.

It's the most prestigious and recognized bodyboard company in the sport's history, and it was founded by Tom Morey, the father of modern bodyboarding.

Despite the famed reputation, the legendary brand has not enjoyed a steady and linear path since its creation in 1973, two years after Tom shaped the world's first bodyboard.

The business flourished, and Morey was manufacturing and selling over 80,000 per year when he sold the firm to Kransco between 1977 and 1978.

Several critical back-to-back events followed.

Mattel acquired Kransco in 1994, and three years later, it sold the sports division toy brands, including Morey Boogie, to Wham-O.

The brand navigated turbulent waters, struggling to keep up with the fast evolution of the water boardsports market.

In less than a couple of decades, windsurfing had bloomed and sunk, and kiteboarding was en route to becoming the world's fastest-growing sport.

Surfing was also continuously gaining more enthusiasts and becoming more accessible to everyone.

In addition to these changing times, Wham-O changed owners a couple more times until Joseph Lin, CEO of Stallion Sport, alongside Intersport, took over in 2016.

The goal was to revitalize a company that had its glory days with products like Frisbee, Hula Hoop, and Slip 'N Slide.

Morey Boogie was caught in these waves of change, and fans lost their trust in the iconic insignia.

Morey 50th Edition Mach 7 Limited Edition: the controversial bodyboard

Misunderstandings: The 50th Anniversary of the Boogie

In 2021, the bodyboarding world celebrated the 50th anniversary of the bodyboard with a series of global events put up by riders and friends of Tom Morey.

At the time, the Morey brand president proposed launching a special anniversary bodyboard and agreed with Tom Morey to pay him 10 percent in royalties.

Tom was already sick and debilitated.

According to SurferToday sources, Stallion Sport made a donation to Morey, regardless of royalties coming out of this board the company was going to launch.

Tom passed away when these boards had already been produced and released them.

Simultaneously, the remaining Morey family members couldn't decide how or to whom the royalties would be paid.

Because the investment in launching the special edition bodyboards had been made, the owner of Morey made sure to remove Tom's name and likeness and instead marketed it as a celebration of 50 years of boogieboarding.

The Morey family came out to express their distaste for this board.

It seemed like they were profiting from Tom's name while the family was grieving his passing.

Stallion Sport wasn't planning to drop the royalty deal.

Still, they couldn't keep a stock of products in the warehouse for long while the Morey family was trying to figure out how the royalties were distributed and who they were going to.

In the meantime, two key personalities tried to rebuild the bridge between the Morey family and the Morey Boogie owners: Mike Stewart and Pierre-Louis Costes.

Why? Because there is indeed a will to hear the bodyboarders and reestablish the trust and spirit of the legendary bodyboard company.

Morey Bodyboards: they're back to reconquer the riders' hearts | Photo: Morey Bodyboards

A New Dawn

Terrence Lin is the son of Joseph Lin, the owner of Wham-O.

He is the brand marketing manager of Wham-O and the man who has been sharing all the news and ideas the company has for Morey Bodyboards.

However, young Lin's business vision was shadowed by people with higher authority than him for a while.

Terrence could not make many decisions on his own, as his father made him work from the bottom up.

Today, he is the brand director for all three bodyboarding brands Wham-O controls - Morey, BZ, and Churchill - and he seems focused on keeping their legacy and values alive.

How? To get things started by showing an openness to listening to criticism and suggestions made by readers in online forums and social media.

Then, to apologize for Wham-O's past mishaps and errors and the brand's mismanagement by previous brand directors.

Lin says that, ultimately, the company is totally focused on developing quality products.

Since the rebranding, Terrence reached out to Melinda Morey, Tom's daughter, to "get her blessing and faith on my efforts to propel the Morey brand to what it once was."

"She expressed her satisfaction with the work I'm doing and with getting Pierre on the team."

Morey Bodyboards' sales managers are also meeting buyers and visiting local surf shops in California to better understand the bodyboarding landscape and reconnect with the community.

Terrence Lin also talked on the phone with Patti Serrano, Morey Boogie's marketing director in the 1980s and a longtime friend of Tom.

Serrano agreed to schedule a meeting with Sol and Marchia Morey in July 2024 to discuss the brand's potential collaboration in projects to bring bodyboarding at the grassroots level to young children.

Morey Bodyboards also has a budget to sponsor bodyboarders.

In cooperation with the company's European distributors, Morey Bodyboards inked a deal with Pierre-Louis Costes, who ended his contract with Pride.

The world bodyboarding champion is now involved in all Morey, BZ, and Churchill-related projects, including product development, marketing, sales, and athlete sponsoring.

"I talk to Pierre almost daily now," revealed Lin.

After sealing deals and setting up a rider team in Europe, Morey has its eyes on looking for bodyboarders and representation in the USA.

Mach 12 Eco Tech: a bodyboard with a super high PP core density of 3.12 pounds per cubic foot

Morey, BZ, and Churchill: Product Development

One of Morey's most recent launches is Mach 12 Eco Tech.

The new model received mixed reviews, with some riders liking it and others calling it "Costco trash."

"But the whole idea of this board is based around Hawaii's banning of EPS material," explained Wham-O's brand marketing manager.

"We wanted to create something eco-friendly and good enough to be a mid-range board."

"So, we decided to make a board with a super high-density PP core. Most boards have a core density of 1.8 pounds per cubic foot. The Mach 12 Eco Tech has a core density of 3.12 pounds per cubic foot."

"The idea was it was so dense that we didn't even need a stringer and mesh to reinforce the whole board."

"We even made it so that materials are expanded directly into the mold, leaving no waste."

"There is also no need for a deck wrap because the top surface is already grippy enough, and no wax is needed."

Terrence Lin says that, given the board's quality, it would not be viable to sell it at Costco, and they wouldn't even consider taking it. 

The bodyboard was tested at Costes' surf camp. The riders said the maneuverability could be better, but it's a quality mid-range board overall.

Morey is also working on Pierre-Louis's signature model, which is expected to see the light of day in 2025.

BZ, another iconic brand founded by Bobby Szabad, is also undergoing significant improvements, with "big plans" in the making that are kept secret.

Churchill Makapuu Pro: Wham-O plans to re-introduce Malaysian rubber in their swimfins

The Return of Malaysian Rubber?

Last but not least, Churchill swim fins.

The Wham-O management and sales teams plan to clear the current inventory of the Makapuu model before considering releasing a Malaysian rubber version.

Terrence Lin is in contact with manufacturers in China and requested samples made with different types of Malaysian rubber.

Wham-O says they have tweaked the stiffness and rigidity of their swimfin range using old fins as a template and guide.

"The new fins will still be made in China, but the rubber will be imported from Malaysia. I have sent samples to Pierre, Iain Campbell, and Amaury Lavernhe, and the feedback is nothing short of amazing," concludes Lin.

"They provide a softer and smoother touch on the skin, with no chafing. I've tweaked the stiffness appropriately so they don't lose power." 

Wham-O did not move the Churchill swim fin production to Malaysia because rebuilding the tooling needed onsite is not viable.

Nevertheless, Wham-O has been working on a cool, new-age, symmetrical Churchill swim fin made in Malaysia using Malaysian rubber.

It is aimed at bodysurfers and watermen in general and is expected to hit the market in 2025.

Words by Luís MP | Founder of SurferToday.com

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