Tom Morey

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Tom Hugh Morey (born August 15, 1935 in Detroit, Michigan), also known by the moniker "Y", is a musician, engineer, shaper, and surfer responsible for several technological innovations that have heavily influenced modern developments in surfing equipment design.


Morey was living in Laguna Beach, California, by 1944 and was avidly developing his talent for drumming in his youth and became a professional musician in the 1950s. While surfing as a hobby he attended the University of Southern California and graduated with a B.A. in mathematics in 1957. He married Jolly Givens in 1957 and worked for Douglas Aircraft, as a process engineer in composites. After Douglas, he worked a series of jobs involving composite materials and processes, which he applied to his surf-related inventions. He left the corporate world for good in 1964, moved to Ventura and started a series of companies that served the surfing market, currently and sponsored surfing competitions such as The Tom Morey Invitational. Tom and Jolly's marriage produced two daughters, Michelle (deceased) and Melinda (artist and surfer). They divorced in the late 1960s.

Morey has been an adherent of the Baháʼí Faith since 1970 after he came across a 'unity feast' at a Kauai beach, where "whites, blacks and Hawaiians, mixed cordially" "After a couple of months of attending informal meetings on Baháʼí teachings - I realized this was very something important not to toy with; rather to become immersed in."[1] "I withdrew immediately from alcohol, drugs and sexual promiscuity". Morey attributes inspiration for invention of the Boogie board (on 7 July 1971) to a particular Baha'i prayer he kept coming across which included the passage "confer upon me thoughts which may change this world into a rose garden.'"[2][3] He founded the company Morey Boogie shorly thereafter. He later married Marchia Nichols, now Marchia Morey, known as the "mother of bodyboarding", who bore them four sons: Sol, Moon, Sky and Matteson.

Tom sold Morey Boogie in 1977 and lived in Hawaii for a decade, working as a consultant by day, jazz musician by night. By 1977, he was producing 80,000 bodyboards per year.[4] In 1985 the Moreys moved to Bainbridge Island, Washington, where Tom engineered for Boeing. In 1992 Tom returned to southern California; reentering the surf scene and consulting on the Wham-O Boogie®Board[5] and with the new company Morey Bodyboards.[6] He ended consulting in January 1999 founding his own company again - Now - and changed his name to Y.[2]

From 1999 to 2007, Tom focused on the development of a new soft surfboard technology. He handmade these boards in a small workshop in Oceanside, California. His most famous of these was the Swizzle, a parabolic-shaped longboard design. He marketed and sold the boards under the name Surfboards by Y.

In late-2007, Tom joined forces with Catch Surf of San Clemente, California,[7] to bring his new technology to the masses. Tom's revolutionary new surfboard technology fuses the safety and durability of soft surfboards with the performance of a hard surfboard.[8]


He had honed his talent as a drummer and ukulele player from his early youth, working professionally by the age of 12. Subsequently he performed professionally with musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie, Stew Williamson, Bud Shank and Conti Condolli. He was an original member of the 'Sons of the Beach' ukulele 1948, then, over the years founder several other band: 'Four Eyed Five', in 1950, the 'Tom Morey Quartet' in 1954, URANIUM, 1969. He joined 'Brotherhood' at the Mauna Kea Beach Hotel in 1983, and currently holds forth at Salt Creek Grille in Dana Point, California with his most recent ensemble, Laguna Jazz Quartet. He also plays in with Dene Davidson's Cool Jazz quintet, with Keith Bishop on saxophone, Joey Carano on guitar, Davidson on electric bass, Leonard Thompson on keyboards, and Morey on drums.


In 1946, at the age of 11, he came in second in the Green Valley Lake Paddle board Championships. He began board surfing in 1952. In April 1955 he wake-surfed (no towrope) behind an ocean-going yacht.

From 1955 to 1963, Morey was a sponsored surfer for Dave Godart Surfboards, then Dave Sweet, Con, Velzy Jacobs, and finally Dewey Weber. In 1964 he began setting up businesses providing surf boards and inventing technologies for surf boards:

  • 1954 - created the first "concave nose pocket"
  • 1955 - invented something he called the "Wing Tip," a Coaund Lift nose.
  • 1964 - created the first polypropylene fin and first commercial interchangeable fin system.
  • 1965 - used resin impregnated cardboard to make a "paper" surfboard which became a Television Commercial and an August 1966, a full color, two page advertisement in Reader's Digest.[9]
  • 1965 - created the Tom Morey Invitational Nose Riding Championships, first professional surfing contest held at Ventura Point.[10]
  • 1971 - invented the bodyboard, called in those days a Boogie Board after his love of music.
  • 1974-76 - engineered the essence of today's "soft board" manufacturing technology.[11]

He left commercial surfboarding interests in the late 1970s and returned to them in the 1990s.


  1. ^ Sultan of surf, baron of boogie (Apr 06) Archived 2008-02-14 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Surfline bio - Tom Morey, aka Y
  3. ^ Bahá'í Prayers
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Wham-O Boogie®Board".
  6. ^ "Morey Bodyboards".
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ [2]
  9. ^ Paper Surfboard - Tom Morey tells the story of how the paper surfboard began
  10. ^ The Tom Morey Invitational, July 4, 1965, Ventura Point
  11. ^ 'Stoking the masses Once upon a time, folks rode waves on surfboards or air mattresses. Then Tom Morey put an iron to a hunk of foam.'

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