Tom Morey, the surfer who invented the Boogie Board, dies at 86

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But Mr. Morey did not get rich from the Boogie Board. He sold his business in 1977 or 1978 to Kransco, a toy maker, for an undetermined small fee and received no royalties.

Mr. Morey was philosophical about his lost manna.

“Let’s say I sold this for a billion dollars,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2003. “I’m always going to be sitting here in a bathing suit. I’m not going to eat more than I eat.

Thomas Hugh Morey was born August 15, 1935 in Detroit, to Howard and Grace Morey. Her father was a real estate agent, her mother a housewife. A family move to Laguna Beach, California when Tom was young introduced him to the Pacific Ocean and windsurfing.

Enrolled in the University of Southern California, he began as a major in music, but received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics in 1957. While still in college, he and a classmate, Bob Tierney , created the Fantopper, a honeycomb paper hat. They sold 100,000 of them (some to Joan Collins and Red Skelton), and the hat was featured in a Parade magazine cover story that asked, “Will paper hats become a fad?” “

Mr. Morey joined Douglas Aircraft in the late 1950s after a stint in the military. At Douglas he specialized in composite materials (which he had already known about from his early days in surfboard manufacturing), but left a few years later to open a surf store and build surfboards. custom made in Ventura, California. He organized the Tom Morey Invitation surf tournament in Ventura in 1965; it is believed to be the sport’s first cash prize competition.

After selling his Boogie Board business, Mr. Morey continued to work on surfboard innovations while playing drums with a band at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii. In 1985, needing money, he moved to Washington State, where he worked at Boeing and returned to working with composites.


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