Surfing world mourns the passing of Tom Morey

October 15, 2021 | Surfing
Tom Morey: he was an accomplished longboarder and nose rider | Photo: Friends of Tom Morey

On October 14, 2021, the physical world lost Tom Morey.

As soon as the news broke, surfers, bodyboarders, and water sports enthusiasts from all over the world started paying tribute to the visionary.

Morey is larger than the bodyboard he invented - he is one of the few larger than life.

"Y," as he enjoyed being called, is now surfing the universe's multiple waveforms. Let's take a look at how people will remember him.

Sol Morey

"It's a time to celebrate Tom's life and not be sorry. This is the moment to spread the stoke of the ocean and love of music."

"On as 5 pm, October 14, 2021, he shapeshifted into his new heavenly form. The moment witnessed the wave known as Tom Morey spread out its energies across Earth's shores and be regathered into its origins."

"In his own words about himself, "This mud wave, now swollen to some mediocre height, turns white at the top and crumbles back into oblivion. So what? It's just surf. There is no death, only form changing - waves in the sea of life. Nobody dies. A burning tree is light and motion finally freed from decades of ensnarement. Thank you to all the millions of people who have embraced the sister-brotherhood of Mother Ocean Waves. You all have made this world a better place. Spread joy as spreading jam over toasted minds."

Alika and Luna

"Rest in love, Tom Morey! What an influential figure of the 20th century!"

"We've all been spongers at some point, and it often was our first introduction to the joys of the ocean on one of many Morey's copycats. One that humbles you and makes you respect the ocean."

"I used to bodysurf whenever there were waves in the summer in the Mediterranean, like, hardly never."

"I remember my brother telling me about how he had so much fun in Hawai'i with his board, so he taught me about the wave timing necessary to catch a wave."

"In March 1994, my buddy Julien R. was living in l'Almanarre, the windsurfing Mecca of the south of France. I lived closed by in Hyères."

"We bicycled with our BMX to the sea. He got all the fancy equipment, wetsuit, fins, a real boogie board."

"He lent me a board and an old t-shirt to go play in the waves. It was fucking freezing, but it was my first real board ride! I was hooked. I needed my own board!"

"We didn't have much money, so later I used my dad's old diving suits from the 1980s, which must have been made out of leather and not neoprene, I swear!"

"They would cause so much rash I had scabs preventing me from bending my knees, elbows, and neck for two weeks anytime I would go surf. It was torture."

"I asked for a real bodyboard for Christmas that year, I think, or my 15th birthday - I forgot."

"The selection sucked in France at the time, so we got this shitty ass board from Decathlon, which was also cheaper."

"I had read how Tom made his first board, so I decided to harden the bottom of mine the same way because I didn't like it - iron and newspaper."

"To some extent, it worked, but mostly not, and I was famous for being the kook with the newspaper tattoo on my board. I think I still have the board in France or gave it away. I forgot. Probably the latter."

"Long live the Morey Boogie!"

Tom Morey: unleashing style on a longboard | Photo: Friends of Tom Morey

Isabela Sousa

"Rest in peace, master of all masters. Eternal thanks for developing the best fun ever."

Pierre-Louis Costes

"Rest in peace, Tom Morey. What a sad day for bodyboarding, or boogieboarding like Tom used to say, as he never liked the word bodyboard."

"I met Tom Morey a few years ago in California while shooting for 'Tender.'"

"Tom was kind enough to shoot an interview for us and, to this day, it was one of the biggest privileges life has given me. His wisdom and his knowledge was something remarkable."

"Tom Morey will forever be a legend in the wave riding world, and we will always be grateful to him."

"Thank you, Tom, for changing my life and millions of others, for bringing so much joy and happiness to this world."

Jared Brown

"If it wasn't for this man right here, I don't know where I would be in life. He gifted this world with so much, but especially the boogie board."

"Words can't describe how much you meant to the boogie community and how many millions of people you gifted happiness to in the water."

Ricardo Estupiñán

"Dear Tom Morey: I have no words to describe the gratitude beyond the heart that remains. With your ingenuity, you guided my life through a wonderful path that will end when I stop breathing."

"Thank you for your wonderful heritage - the sport is bodyboarding, or boogie boarding as you liked to call it. Through it, I became one with the environment. I got to know my roots, the ocean, my job, the love of life, and became a father."

"It's been 50 years of your invention - 50 years of life and 50 years to see the birth of my daughter Hawa."

"Rest in peace, and may your energy continue to illuminate souls, as you did in this life. Amen."

Neymara Carvalho

"Thank you for having existed, Tom. Thank you for the simple life and the love of the ocean. Thank you for inventing bodyboarding!"

"I am eternally grateful for the sport you created, and I have had the luck to enjoy. Your legacy was gigantic."

Jaz Berger

"Rest in peace to the incomparable, trailblazing, one of a kind, and ahead of his time, Mr. Tom Morey."

His gift of the invention of the boogie board - aka bodyboard- brought so much light into so many people's lives - including mine."

I have so many amazing memories riding his invention - from Sandy Beach to Ehukai to Waimea Shorebreak to remote beach breaks in Mexico.",

"Thank you, Tom. I am sending you and Marchia tons of positive energy. I was lucky enough to spend an afternoon with Tom before his passing."

Gerhard Weil

"Tom Morey: keep sliding on the eternal wave. Everything has a beginning, and everything has an end, and every breaking point has a reason for being."

"The important thing is to collect life experiences and travel companions that will add value to your fleeting journey on this plane."

"Thank you for befriending me, inspiring my passion, and sharing your very particular vision of the art of wave riding."

Duarte Lima Villas

"Living close to the beach, I was lucky to start boogieboarding when I was 12. Most of my friendships came from the beach and from surfing around the world."

"Some of them really helped me shape my path and inspire me to become better and better. I can't really say more than a huge 'thank you so much, Tom Morey! It wouldn't have been the same without boogieboarding."

Leandro Ribeiro

"Bodyboarding will never die! Few people leave something eternal, something that changes people's lives."

"Bodyboarding was more than a sport - it was definitely my lifeline and my passport to the world. I crossed oceans and traveled to inhospitable and beautiful places."

"I enjoyed tubes of different colors and sizes. Thanks to a guy who broke a surfboard and didn't want to miss a swell. Bodyboard was born that way - with attitude."

"It still is the best vehicle for hollow and heavy waves."

Lisa Shaw

"This innovative legend has supported my mental health for 30 years."

"Some may say, 'why bodyboarding?' Over a recent chat with someone, their mention of 'it doesn't matter what you ride, it's all about the thrill you seek' was the nail on the head for me."

"Call it what you will - bodyboarding, biscuit riding, clam dragging, bin lid slider. This sport has been underrated for many years. Maybe that's why I love it so much."

"Tom Morey was the inventor of the bodyboard but also the inventor of many revolutionary surf products."

"His mention in 'The Endless Summer' sparked my curiosity of traveling with a bodyboard."

"This film was the first time I had seen waves out of my local surrounding, and it wet my thirst to explore."

"Back then, there was no internet, just Teletext. That's how we brought our less than economic flights to places such as Indonesia, Mexico, Fiji, Tasmania."

"Bodyboarding has taken me around the globe nearly twice, and when I think of the happiest times in my life, it's easy to say it will always be the memories of sliding down and along a wave with a full pumping heart and a smile on my face."

"Still to this day, bodyboarding continues to be my biggest passion, alongside swimming."

"I owe a lot of my happiness to this man. Rest in peace, King of Boogie."

Pedro Arruda

"Probably more than anything else, Tom Morey is responsible for the liberation of wave riding."

"The little square of polyurethane that he invented, for its accessibility, gave millions of people the possibility to go into the sea and glide down the surface of a wave."

"And that alone is a gift few men can call their own. I'm forever grateful, Tom."

Maria Cristina Alayon

"Tom Morey: if it wasn't the Morey Boogie bodyboard that you invented, my life would be completely different."

"Thank you so much because, with bodyboarding, I had the privilege to live in Hawaii for 18 years and surfed the best waves in the world."

May Lopes

"Today is a sad day for world bodyboarding. Tom Morey, the inventor of the bodyboard, said goodbye to the Earth and went surfing the celestial waves."

I will be forever grateful for his persistence in continuing to surf after his board broke. This persistence remains in the hearts of bodyboarders around the world to this day."

"The passion for our sport moves us and keeps us alive! And the result of this passion is that bodyboarding is the water sport with the highest number of world titles in Brazil."

"Thank you for all the friendships that the sport has given me, the mind-blowing trips and paradisiacal places I've known and will know, the barrels and aerial maneuvers, sunrises and sunsets, and of course, the shared laughter and silences on the lineup while waiting for the next set of waves."

Alexandre Varão

"Life is not measured by the years that you live but by the intensity you live."

"Many will live to be 90 years old, but they will not live as Tom Morey did."

Bodi Orton

"We likely all have our story of how Tom impacted our lives through his creation."

"His closest friends and family got all of him, but what was striking to me is how many also meaningful personal interactions with Tom because he was so gifted at giving a little of himself to everyone."

"These are my two stories."

"I was born in Puako, and Paul Mitchell had a house just down the road. Rad little beach house with the yard full of solar race cars and parts and other oddity inventions."

"Tom and Paul were friends, and because of that, there was a stack of boogie boards under the porch."

"I loved hanging out there at around 5 or 6 years old and 'borrowed' many of those magical boards."

"Twenty years later, I found myself working at BZ through the influence and opportunity from Harry Antipala and others."

"One day at a meeting of all the major industry leaders before the trade show, the subject of organizing all our voices to represent bodyboarding at ASR was agreed to."

"Next, to name it."

"After a few suggestions, I spoke up and said 'MOB: Manufacturer's Organized for Bodyboarding,' which was met by a pause of silence which was way better than hearing the next suggestion thrown out."

"Then Tom spoke up, seconded it, and that was it done deal."

"At 25 years old, I felt very grown-up, and this was a bookend event to a great life."

Iain Campbell

"Thanks to Tom, we now have a bodyboard, a crazy sport, and an inspired community enjoying their time in the water on their foam boogie craft."

"He always wanted it to be a fun craft, and that piece of foam allows us to have fun daily."

JJ Caldwell

"Pipeline contest, 2020. I spent some time talking to Tom and Marchia in a quiet area on the beach. The love and aloha just pour from them - a light emitting. Like your talking to beings that feel like angles on this Earth."

"The love shared between the two of them really touched my soul. It's rare to witness a true soulmate connection. Their love for this life was only surpassed by their love for each other."

"Wishing Tom safe travels on his new adventures. Wishing Marchia all the love while she is on this plane without Tom physically."

Steve Jackson

"I am eternally grateful for everything Tom Morey and his invention of the boogie board has given to me."

"Every great experience and friendship over the past 33 years of my life involves bodyboarding, and it's all thanks to Tom."

"I am thankful not only for all that his invention has provided me in my life but for having had the opportunity to get to know him. "

e is, easily, one of the most brilliant minds I've ever had the good fortune to be in the presence of!"

"We honor him by celebrating his life and continuing his legacy. Stay stoked and boogie on! Thank you, Tom."

Guilherme Tamega

"Tom Morey, the man that directed my life to eternal happiness, left us today to rest in peace with God in Heaven."

"Thank you, Tom. The Tamega ohana will always have you in our hearts and pray. God bless the Morey family."

Ayaka Suzuki

"Tom, you changed my life. You changed all our lives when we were introduced to bodyboarding. Thank you so much. You'll live in our hearts forever. Rest in peace."

Fernando Aguerre

"Dear amigo Tom. Thank you for all your ideas, warmth, sense of humor and for the expansion of the art of wave riding. We will never forget you."

Craig Libuse

"Yesterday, I learned that my friend, first paying customer, mentor, philosopher, lifelong waterman, and inventor of the Morey Boogie bodyboard passed away a few days ago at the age of 86."

"Tom Morey and his soft, flexible foam wave riding vehicle allowed millions of people to enjoy the fun of riding ocean waves."

"Some were kids getting their first ride on the white water up onto the sand, but others were daring athletes who rode them on some of the world's most challenging and dangerous waves."

"When asked if the Boogie board would one day replace surfing, Tom's answer was, 'this IS surfing.'"

"This year was, in fact, the 50th anniversary of the invention of the Boogie board."

"I was fortunate enough to meet Tom when I was just getting started as a graphic artist after leaving the Air Force in 1972."

"He was just starting to market his soft foam wave riding vehicle, and I was one of his first customers."

"He hand-shaped my board in his garage and asked me to design a logo for the new product that captured the fun of riding a wave and being part of the curl."

My design ended up being the face of the product when Tom moved the business from his garage to a small factory on Oak Street in Carlsbad and lasted through most of my 15-year tenure as the company's art director."

"The $25 he paid for that logo was my first official income as an artist, and Tom left my signature on the logo as part of the deal."

"It was recently brought back to life as part of the 50-year anniversary celebration."

"Only a few weeks ago, Tom called me on the phone, and we talked for an hour and a half."

"He was still full of ideas for new products and always thinking ahead of the curve."

"Tom was a master of analogies, many of which related to surfing and waves."

"Talking with Tom always left me feeling I should be taking notes, as he had a way of seeing things from a direction no one else was looking"

His invention had a profound influence on many young people as he opened the fun world of riding waves to them."

"I am now retired in Tennessee, but on a recent trip to Costco in Knoxville, I saw a pallet of Morey Boogie boards for sale. Knoxville is 350 miles from the ocean."

Brant Page

"I met Tom Morey in 1971 at the Honel's house in Kailua-Kona. Marchia and Tom just came back from a trip to Puerto Rico."

"He rented a room from Dove Forth and his wife, Christel. Marchia was pregnant with Sol."

"I attended their wedding at the 'City of Refuge.' I was living out of a panel truck, and Dove was my boss at Reuben's restaurant that year."

"He and Christel graciously gave me a parking spot in the driveway and a free ticket to use the house. Honel's is a summer break, and it was summertime."

"I would spend the afternoons putting on records from Dove's great record collection and playing my bongos to the tunes, surfing the mornings and evenings."

"Upon meeting Tom, he told me he had a drum set that I already was spocking, and he invited me to play it!"

"That ended up being an endless jazz and rock duo, inspiring each other the whole summer. I had a job playing my bongos at the piano bar at Hugo's that summer after quitting Reuben's."

"Bruce Wertz was renting the original Honel's family home. He gave Tom his shaping room to use that was next door to our place."

"Tom had come home one afternoon in a borrowed El Camino with this 4x8 slab of foam."

"He ran into the house, grabbed me, and told me this was going to change surfing forever by giving every novice a chance to ride waves."

"My mind went right into the bobbing bodies in the lineup mode! My fears came true, but what the heck, he was right on!"

"I remember very well that day he paddled out with this first prototype. It was crude and very ugly, as he used a steam iron and newspaper to smooth out the ruff sanding scratches."

"Tom went deep into the rights bowl, next to the rocks boiling in front."

"He went from the back door seemingly impossible, with a surfboard, very dangerous! Many broke their necks on that reef."

"Tom got up on his knees, grabbed the rail and just flew through the bowl deep inside, came out and carved all the way into the shore break! He was so excited! I was amazed!"

"Tom and Marcia soon boarded a plane to promote his new designs, and the rest is history."

"I never got to see Sol to this day, and he is 50 years old, as is the boogie."

"All those years I knew Tom in Kailua, Puako, Waimea, etc., we never met up somehow. We finally friended on Facebook."

"But I do know that he was listening to me and his dad all that summer of 1971 in his mom's belly, as he is also now an accomplished hand drummer with a collection of hand drums to envy!"

"Rest in peace to my old friend who declared me family - what an honor Tom Morey!"

"My love goes out to Marchia and all her kids, grandkids, and extended Ohana! God Bless!"

Margaret Stine

"Richard and I were the Morey's neighbors 'across the bay' when we moved to Bainbridge Island, WA, in 1989."

"From the first meeting, it was a wild and wonderful romp, their little waterfront house filled with foam and fun, music, laughter."

"Tom was forever a teacher - ski lessons on Crystal Mountain, snow boogie lessons at the golf course (trying out his snow boogie board prototype), ukulele lessons, life lessons."

"Always unique, always creating some new device that made motion more fun. More than once, we heard Tom's voice calling out from the water."

"He'd be stuck on his journey across the bay to our house trying out some new invention."

"One such journey was on a boogie board using a Makita drill to power it, but the battery had run out, and he was stranded. Richard had to rescue him in our little rubber boat."

"We lost the Morey family to the sun and surf of Southern California, but we never lost touch. A unique and wonderful man that we were blessed to know and love."


Send us your memories, homages, eulogies, and tributes to Tom Morey, and we'll add them here.

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