Bodyboard vs Boogie Board: What’s The Difference?

Bodyboarding is a sport where you ride big waves and perform cool tricks using the best equipment.

Boogie boarding is something kids do when they’re messing around at the beach with a foam board.

It’s completely untrue. Even though it’s what lots of people think nothing could be further from the truth, so what’s going on?

Bodyboard vs Boogie Board: What's The Difference?

There is absolutely zero difference between bodyboards and boogie boards from a physical point of view. The words can be used interchangeably depending on how you’re feeling. It’s a big myth that has blown out of control over the years.

What Is A Boogie Board And Where Did It Come From?

Thomas Hugh Morey is the father of bodyboarding. He absolutely loved surfing and started manufacturing surfboards in the 50s despite having a very good job. But there was something else that interested him. Riding waves while lying on a board in the prone position.

Captain Cook talked about seeing Hawaiian villagers riding these kinds of boards back in the 18th century, so it’s been going on a lot longer than you think. Morey took one of these paipo boards and completely transformed it in the early 70s to create the boogie board.

Boogie Board Became A Trademarked Term

When Morey came up with the first bodyboard he called it the Morey Boogie board. Apparently he had an appreciation for boogie woogie jazz. Also lots of money because he eventually sold his invention to a toy company who trademarked the name ‘boogie board.’

By 1977, Morey had sold close to a hundred thousand boogie boards, so it’s safe to say it was becoming a popular sport. Other companies wanted to get in on the action and needed to come up with a name, so they decided to call them bodyboards.

It’s not like they had any choice in the matter. The company that trademarked the term ‘boogie board’ actively went after anyone who dared use the name in their marketing. Who knows what would have happened if Morey was able to keep up with high demand.

Everything Is Up In The Air These Days

Bodyboards and bodyboarding stuck because they’re really cool names. Straight to the point and more professional. But boogie boards and boogie boarding never really went away. They just got relegated to the cheap boards that couldn’t handle waves more than 2 feet high.

If bodyboarders shudder when you mention boogie boards it’s because their egos don’t want to be associated with them. It makes them less cool. However, it doesn’t take away the fact they are the exact same thing.

Choosing The Best Bodyboard For Beginners

Companies selling ‘bodyboards’ do tend to sell quality boards suitable for beginners to get the most out of big waves. Boogie boards are usually so soft and featureless you won’t be able to do anything with them. It’s important you know what you’re looking for when buying one.

The best bodyboards for beginners should have:

  1. Channels to help with steering.
  2. Slicks that reduce friction on the water.
  3. Tails shaped for ultimate control.
Morey Mach 7 42" Bodyboard
Perfect example of a great beginner board.

And other important features that let the best beginner bodyboards handle big airs, fast spins, and large waves with ease.

Once you know about the inner-workings of a great bodyboard you can call it whatever you want.

The Original Morey Boogie Board

On July 7, 1971, Tom Morey introduced the world to the very first bodyboard. It’s the day he tested one in Hawaiian waters. Did you know it could have been called something very different? Originally, Morey came up with the name S.N.A.K.E.

Side – Navel – Arm – Knee – Elbow

If he didn’t change his mind before bringing it to market everyone might be snake boarding today, which is funny because snakeboards used to be a thing before they vanished into thin air. Do you remember those skateboard-like contraptions?

Here is the original weight and dimensions of the Morey Boogie board:

  • Length – 45 inches
  • Width – 25 inches
  • Thickness – 2.25 inches
  • Weight – 3.75 pounds

The first boards were actually made from foam so maybe all those snobby people have a point. Morey discovered it was possible to shape the boards in his backyard using a hot iron, but only after covering it in newspapers he had finished reading. It certainly wasn’t pretty.

The Modern Morey Bodyboards Of Today

Modern boogie boards are hugely different compared to how they looked almost 50 years ago. It’s been a slow evolution but we’re now at a stage where the best bodyboards will allow you to do almost anything in the water, including standing on top of the board.

The Morey Mach 7SS is one of the most well rounded boards in their lineup. Not bad considering it’s a lot cheaper than some other wonderful boards. Let’s take a look at some of the advanced features so you’ll know it’s unlike the original foam board.

Mach 7-SS 43" Body Board Dual Power Rod Stringers Knee Contours, Upper Chime Rail, Crescent Tail, Tail Piece

Morey Mach 7SS Features

  1. X-flex polypro core
  2. Surlyn slick
  3. Dual power rod stringers
  4. Knee contours
  5. Crescent tail
  6. Raised thumb ridges

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It’s ideal for drop knee bodyboarding, plus you’ll be able to attempt flips and tricks. In other words, the boogie board is nothing like the original. We’re now at a point where it’s hard to see how they’ll be able to improve bodyboards going forwards.

What Does Tom Morey Think Of Bodyboards?

If you more or less created a new extreme sport, I’m sure you’d probably stick with the name you originally came up with. It’s not so simple in Morey’s case. He called his board a ‘boogie.’ But he didn’t allow the whole thing to go to his head.

The Morey company actually promoted their boards as ‘Morey Boogie bodyboards’ when bodyboards started being mass produced by everyone else. I suppose you could argue it was all about marketing because bodyboarding is a much more powerful name.

Can you imagine someone riding down the front of a massive death wave on their boogie board? Including ‘bodyboards’ in the name would have helped reach those wild riders pushing the limits every day.

Improving Your Boogie Boarding Experience

Let’s say you do get an old school boogie board because you won’t be doing anything too crazy in the waves. Even though it won’t have tons of amazing features you’ll still be able to have a great time. But at the very least you’ll need the best bodyboarding fins on your feet.

Fins will help boost your speed, balance, and control when you’re riding waves. You’ll be able to catch a lot more than the average person too. If you love Morey you’ll definitely want to use the Churchill Makapuu Pro fins. Here are a couple of the features you’ll appreciate:

Churchill Makapuu Pro Swimfins -Black/Orange - M/L

  1. Stiffer side rails for maximum kicking
  2. Stiffer blade for optimum thrust
  3. Higher blend line for more power
  4. Drainage hole for debris to escape

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And let’s not get started on fins vs flippers.

Bodyboard vs Boogie Board: It’s Up To You

Don’t let anyone tell you any different if they try to mess with you and your boogie. There is definitely no official difference between the two names. The only difference is the one uninformed people have been letting fester in their minds for too long.

As long as you’re flying around in the sea on a modern day boogie board, you’ll be extremely happy.