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In Full Flow

Tom Morey, 1935–2021.

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Tom Morey, the most important futuristic thinker to apply his brilliance to the sport of surfing, passed away two days after suffering both a major stroke and a heart attack. He was 86. Attending doctors released him to the afterlife with his wife, Marchia, at his side. 

Known for his pure and committed line choice and graceful use of body emphasis, Tom was one of the standout wave riders of his period at a number of the most definitive breaks, including Malibu, as seen in the classic image that made its way to the cover of the October/November 1963 issue of Surfer magazine.

Tom Morey. Photo by Art Brewer.

His conceptual ideas were based on ways to move through ocean waves, specifically by displacing water, and took shape in a variety of different forms. His revolutionary soft-laminated foam planing platform, the Boogie Board, allowed more neophytes of all sexes, ages, and nationalities to try waves at any level of sophistication than any other modern invention ever created. His soft-board designs, while equally creative, never caught on like the Boogie, as they featured abstractions of more familiar forms. Tom’s Boogie, aptly named the Morey Boogie, never made the Moreys as wealthy as it might have, for Tom was not a deal-maker. Tom, true to character, was always more concerned about conceiving of and actualizing his next invention than he was resting on or monetizing his laurels.

Even as he slowly ebbed over recent years, he continued to pursue his thoughts that kept flowing despite his failing vision and mobility. It was a spigot he couldn’t turn off. 

The surfing landscape as mankind knows it would be much different had we not experienced Tom’s mind at work.