History Of Bodyboarding

Table of Contents

If you are a fan of surfing, you have probably heard of bodyboarding. This water sport has been around for quite some time and has gained a significant following in recent years. However, many people do not know the history of bodyboarding and how it has evolved to become what it is today. In this article, we will delve into the origins of bodyboarding and how it has evolved over the years. So, let’s get started with some sub-questions:


What is bodyboarding?

Bodyboarding is a water sport that involves riding a wave on a board in a prone position. The board is made of foam, plastic, or fiberglass and is smaller than a traditional surfboard. Bodyboarding requires less balance and uses different techniques to ride waves compared to surfing.


Who invented bodyboarding?

Bodyboarding as we know it today was invented by Tom Morey in 1971. Although there were other forms of bodyboarding being practiced before this time, Morey revolutionized the sport by creating the first boogie board, which was an improvement on the earlier designs.


How did bodyboarding become popular?

Bodyboarding, also known as boogie boarding, gained popularity through a combination of factors and influences over time. Here’s a brief overview of how bodyboarding became popular:

  1. Origins in Hawaii: Bodyboarding has its roots in ancient Polynesian culture, where people rode waves using wooden boards. However, it was in the 1970s in Hawaii that modern bodyboarding as we know it began to take shape. Local surfers like Tom Morey experimented with foam and fiberglass boards to create a smaller, more maneuverable version for riding waves in prone position.
  2. Accessibility and affordability: Bodyboarding appealed to a broader demographic because it required less skill, physical fitness, and balance compared to traditional surfing. The smaller boards were more affordable and easier to transport, making them accessible to a wider audience, including children, beginners, and those living in coastal areas without large waves.
  3. Media exposure: In the 1980s and 1990s, bodyboarding gained significant media exposure through magazines, films, and televised events. Popular magazines like “Bodyboarding” and films like “The Morey Boogie” showcased the sport’s thrilling maneuvers, high-performance riding, and stunning wave action. These media platforms helped raise awareness and generate interest in bodyboarding.
  4. Competitive events: The establishment of competitive bodyboarding events played a crucial role in the sport’s popularity. Organizations like the International Bodyboarding Association (IBA) and the Association of Professional Bodyboarders (APB) organized professional tours, world championships, and regional contests, giving bodyboarders a platform to showcase their skills and gain recognition.
  5. Professional athletes: The emergence of talented bodyboarders who pushed the limits of the sport and achieved incredible feats helped elevate bodyboarding’s popularity. Athletes like Mike Stewart, Ben Player, Guilherme Tâmega, and Pierre-Louis Costes became household names within the bodyboarding community and inspired others to take up the sport.
  6. Mainstream exposure: Bodyboarding started to appear in mainstream media, including advertising campaigns, music videos, and movies. This exposure helped familiarize the general public with bodyboarding and added to its appeal.
  7. Lifestyle and community: Bodyboarding developed its unique lifestyle and community, fostering camaraderie, shared experiences, and a distinct culture. This sense of belonging attracted people to the sport and helped sustain its growth.
  8. Technological advancements: Advances in board design, materials, and manufacturing techniques further enhanced the sport’s appeal. Modern bodyboards are lighter, more durable, and better suited for different wave conditions, enabling riders to perform more advanced maneuvers and enjoy a better overall experience.


How has bodyboarding evolved over time?

Bodyboarding has come a long way since its early days. In the past, bodyboards were made solely of foam, but now they are made of materials like plastic and fiberglass, which make them more durable and flexible. The designs have also changed, with shapes and sizes being optimized for specific wave conditions and riders’ preferences. Today, there are even some bodyboards which have enhanced technical features like hydrodynamic bottom contours for advanced wave maneuvering.


What are the different types of bodyboarding?

There are several types of bodyboarding, including drop knee, prone, and stand-up bodyboarding. In drop knee bodyboarding, the rider uses one knee to steer the board, while in stand-up bodyboarding, the rider stands on the board, much like surfing. Prone bodyboarding, which involves riding waves in a horizontal position, is the most common type.


What can beginners expect when bodyboarding for the first time?

For those who have never bodyboarded before, it can be a fun and exciting experience. When first learning to bodyboard, it’s important to start on small waves and use a board with a leash attached to your wrist. The key is to catch and ride the wave on your stomach, then use your arms to steer. With enough practice, riders will be able to maneuver the board and perform tricks like spinning, carving, and kicking out of the waves.



In conclusion, bodyboarding has come a long way since its inception in the early 70s. It has gained a significant following and is now a popular water sport, enjoyed by both amateurs and professionals around the world. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting, bodyboarding can be a fun and exciting way to spend time on the water. With the right board and a bit of practice, anyone can ride the waves and experience the thrill of bodyboarding.

Josh Mitchell

Josh Mitchell

"I live and breath boardriding"

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