HISTORY: Origins of the Bodyboard
The sport of bodyboarding originated from an ancient form of Polynesian wave riding. ALAIA (ah-lie-ah) boards, made from koa wood, ranged from 3' to 6' in length and were ridden prone (laying down) or on the knees. This form of waveriding was observed and recorded in 1778 by Captain James Cook upon his arrival in Hawaii. Alaia boards, eventually, evolved into the more modern PAIPO (pie- poh) board, made from either wood or fiberglass.
The modern day bodyboard was invented on July 7th, 1971 by Tom Morey. While living on the Big Island of Hawaii, in the town of Kailua, he shaped a block of foam using a hot iron, an electric knife, and sheets of newspaper. He cut the rails at 45 degrees, then took his new creation to the beach to surf Honols, and the sport of bodyboarding as we know it was born!
Photo: Pt. Pleasant, New Jersey 1998...(from left to right) Tom Morey, Lanson Ronquilio (Hawaii), Alistair Taylor (South Africa), Keith Grace (New Jersey), Steve "Action" Jackson (New Jersey), and Jay Reale (Maryland) with the original bodyboard from 1971.