Tom Morey, Boogie Board Inventor, Dies at 86, Leaves Perfect Burial Wishes

It could be argued Tom Morey, who died this week at age 86, is the most important figure in surfing in the past hundred years, if not, ever. Okay, here, I’ll make the argument. He democratized wave riding by inventing the bodyboard, which he called the Boogie board, the only name for the craft that many people will ever know. Surfing is very, very difficult to learn. It requires a big, dangerous, expensive surfboard, and surfing isn’t particularly enjoyable until you’ve figured out how to stand up on the board.

Enter the bodyboard. Small, light, safe, inexpensive immediately useable by anyone who can swim. For those of us who’ve wasted, I mean, uh, enriched, decades of our lives surfing, the bodyboard was our entrance point. Our parents didn’t want to drop hundreds of bucks on a six-foot fiberglass sword, but forty bucks for bright pink sponge was easy peasy.

Millions of smiling faces. That was Morey’s legacy. He wanted surfing to be easy for everyone to access. Thanks, Tom.

Here’s a video of Morey on the first bodyboard.

Mike Stewart, an absolute legendary surfer, who is, technically speaking, a bodyboarder, was a close friend of Morey’s and passed along Morey’s burial wishes to the Encyclopedia of Surfing. Morey was of a time when surfing was ruled by the eccentric, genius tinkerer, and boy, does this description of his preferred casket encapsulate that time, and that man. We’re sharing it here, because it’s just brilliant. He references Moon and Sol here, and those are his sons.

I’d settle for roadside burial along the highway, maybe in Mexico.

I want the nature of my casket to make a public statement by virtue of its simplicity. Namely, to show that making a big deal of this damn thing with thousands of dollars spent on a casket is lunacy; a totally unnecessary burden on the family.

I’d like it to be just as simple as can be. As follows, unless you guys figure out something simpler:

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Moon or Sol could easily build it. Whoever. 1/8″ or 5/16″ plywood. Classic coffin shape is good enough.

Don’t waste time miter-cutting the joints. Just butt together the inside edges. Use dabs of hot-melt glue to tack the thing together for positioning. Then beads of Gorilla glue and spray with enough water to fill in the gaps. Then use epoxy or polyester and 2″- or 3″-wide burlap strips to join the wood pieces on the inside. And maybe the outside. Maybe use sun-cure polyester resin.

No handles. Pallbearers can figure it out.

A few nails and Gorilla glue to seal the lid.

Shape: classic seven-piece coffin shape. No curves. Flat bottom. ZERO showie craftsmanship.

Zero rocker 😉

My length is 5 feet 10 inches.

Any writing on casket to be hand-burned in with a soldering iron.

Again, the point is, use any prestige I might have gained to move the thinking of those who follow towards keeping it simple, lightweight, and above all INEXPENSIVE.

It is just a box bearing a moldering carcass. I will still be centered in but be progressively exiting this point of reference.

OR . . . simpler:

Mummy wrap my naked body in cotton gauze. Impregnate one surface with light layer of sun-cure polyester resin. Move from shade, allow 5-20 minutes for partial cure. Rotate, do additional surface, repeat, etc. Then add a thicker coat for re-enforcement. Then a thick gloss coat.

Modify these instructions, if necessary, to allow for swelling of decaying body.

Be still and we are still with you 😉

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