Paddle Tribute Honors Boogie Board Inventor Tom Morey – Orange County Register

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They sat in a circle and slapped the salt water skyward, cheering and thanking the man who helped share the thrill of the ride.

A paddle-out memorial in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, honored Tom Morey, who invented the Boogie Board 50 years ago, a lightweight, easy-to-maneuver foam board on large and small waves. Tributes have been paid around the world, on the coasts and along rivers and lakes, an indication of the scope of the influence of his invention.

  • Bodyboarders and surfers raise their arms in the air and splash the water at a memorial to Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Marchia Morey, left, widow of Tom Morey, stands with her sons, Sol Morey, Moon Morey and his wife, Caroline, as she talks to bodyboarders, surfers and friends gather on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday November 6, 2021, just before a memorial in honor of Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Bodyboarders, surfers and friends of Boogie Board inventor Tom Morey gather for a group photo on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021, just before a memorial in Morey’s honor. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • A memorial of photos and Boogie Boards as bodyboarders, surfers and friends gather on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021, for a memorial in honor of Boogie inventor Tom Morey Board. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Marchia Morey, center, widow of Tom Morey, laughs as she walks the beach after the memorial in honor of her husband, Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board, on T-Street beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6 , 2021. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Bodyboarders and surfers raise their arms in the air and splash the water at a memorial to Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Jay Reale, center, a former professional bodyboarder who was a close friend of Tom Morey, sings as friends play the ukulele as bodyboarders, surfers and friends gather on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021, for a memorial paddle outing in honor of Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • A memorial of photos, boogie boards and flowers sit on the beach as bodyboarders, surfers and their friends gather on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021, for a memorial in the honor of Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Bodyboarders ride a wave back to the beach after a memorial to Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board, on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021. Morey died on October 14 at the age of of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Marchia Morey, widow of Tom Morey, receives a hug from a friend as bodyboarders, surfers and friends gather on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021, for a memorial in honor by Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • A memorial of photos and Boogie Boards as bodyboarders, surfers and friends gather on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021, for a memorial in honor of Boogie inventor Tom Morey Board. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Bodyboarders and surfers form a circle at a memorial honoring Boogie Board inventor Tom Morey as friends watch from T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021. Morey has passed away on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Stickers and flower petals sit on a table as bodyboarders, surfers and friends gather on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021, for a memorial in honor of Tom Morey , inventor of the Boogie Board. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Bodyboarders and surfers take to the water for a memorial honoring Boogie Board inventor Tom Morey as friends gather on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021. Morey is died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Marchia Morey, widow of Tom Morey, smells some flowers as bodyboarders, surfers and friends gather on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021, for a memorial in honor of Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Bodyboarders and surfers raise their arms in the air and splash the water at a memorial to Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board on T-Street Beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021. Morey died on October 14 at the age of 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

  • Roses placed in the sand following a memorial in honor of Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board on T-Street beach in San Clemente on Saturday, November 6, 2021. Morey died on October 14 at the age 86. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register / SCNG)

On San Clemente’s T-Street Beach, bodyboarders and surfers gathered under an overcast sky, some old friends remembering decades ago, others new friends reunited by Morey and his Boogie Board. Morey passed away last month.

“He brought so many people together,” said his son Sol Morey, who came to Hawaii for the tribute. “The ocean here behind us is something that connects us all. I am blessed to see that all of you are here to celebrate this one thing, the love for the ocean.

Morey, born in Detroit but raised in Laguna Beach, has lived in Southern California, Ventura to San Diego, and Hawaii. He lived for many years in San Clemente and then recently moved to Laguna Woods, with every chapter of his life having a huge impact on people near and far.

Stories poured in about the creative craftsman who “always dreamed of something,” as Bill Dennis, who met Morey in the 1950s when they both attended USC, describes it.

“He never focused on ‘normal’ and I say that in a positive way,” said Dennis.

When the Boogie Board became a global phenomenon, “most of us weren’t very surprised,” said Dennis.

Morey created several surfing inventions in his youth and was also credited with hosting the first paid surfing competition, the Tom Morey Invitational in Malibu in 1966.

But it was in 1971, while living in Hawaii, that he cut a large piece of surfboard foam in half, wanting to ride a bombing surf break when the wind was too strong to stand. on a board. A Boogie Board-shaped tribute to a young Morey was erected on Saturday near Honl’s Beach in Hawaii, where Morey lived at the time.

Tony Prince, a well-known bodyboard photographer, recalls telling Morey at a 50th birthday celebration a few months before his death on October 14 the influence he had since imagining the Boogie Board.

“You took trash out of a dumpster and changed the lives of millions of people,” Prince told Morey. Prince is a former pro whose life revolved around bodyboarding, the generic name of the Boogie Board today.

“Tom’s dream was just to ‘have fun’,” Prince said. “Have fun all the time. “

Gary Williams, son of surf icon Les Williams, brought an old prototype his father bought out on the sand at San Onofre State Beach, one of the first Boogie Boards made when Morey returned to the mainland from Hawaii to start production.

“It’s seen a lot of waves over the years,” Williams said.

Bob Mignogna remembers when Morey approached him to put his first ad in Surfing Magazine. Mignogna gave him the credit for the quarter page, telling Morey he could delay payment for a few months.

“Otherwise he wouldn’t be able to advertise to start selling bodyboard,” Mignogna said, noting that he was skeptical when he first saw it, but later with Peter. “PT” Townend, launched Bodyboarding Magazine.

“It opened up the practice of surfing to tens of millions of people around the world, who probably wouldn’t have been wave surfers if Tom hadn’t invented it,” he said.

As the memorial began, hundreds of people gathered to witness the traditional Hawaiian blessing and some of Morey’s favorite songs were played on the ukulele, including one he wrote, “The Boogie Song”.

Son Moon Morey and his wife, Caroline, as well as Morey’s wife Marchia, the second person to ever do the Boogie Board when she was 8 months pregnant with son Sol, sang with others in the crowd.

Marchia Morey spoke of the many things her husband, who was 86 when he passed away, was passionate about many things: their strong spirituality, his curiosity about space and the importance of equality between people of different ethnicities and between men. and women.

“We can spend very little time here,” she said. “Most of us take a long time to learn the basics – the basics of loving each other, that we are a global family.”

Despite a heavy swell that slammed the shore, around 100 bodyboarders and surfers headed into the water for the paddleboarding, where they thanked the ocean and Morey for the thrill of the ride.

Marchia Morey paddled to the sea for the tribute. On the way home, she walked along the whitewash with a smile on her face – just like she first did 50 years ago, after her husband imagined the light invention that would change the world.

“Tom Morey, from a young man to his later years, was always looking for a way to enjoy life,” Sol Morey said. “He certainly did it with the Boogie… he knew there was something there. The masses of people gravitated towards her. It was a matter of fun. Everything revolves around you and the ocean.


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