Boogie Board or Bodyboard? What's the difference?
(An early Morey Boogie TV commercial)
This is a question that has been posed since I began riding these boards in the late 1970s and I still get asked this to this day! It's a valid question. The short answer is, they are one and the same!
Let me explain...
The "Boogie Board" was actually not called that at all when Tom Morey built the first one in July of 1971. Tom was an inventor in the vain of Caractacus Potts (I know that's an old "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" reference, but it's a valid one). Tom puttered around with some foam, some newspaper, a knife and an iron and came up with a board that he didn't really have a name for when he paddled out at Honel's on the Big Island's Kona Coast. It wasn't until he had moved back to California and decided to sell them that he gave it a name. Tom's first inclination was to call it the S.N.A.K.E. That was an acronym for the parts of the body used to ride it- side, navel, arm, knee, elbow. But, some of the ladies in his immediate circle didn't take a liking to a product named after a slithering serpent, so Tom turned to one of his main loves outside of surfing, jazz music. Being a talented jazz drummer, Tom was a fan of the "boogie woogie" style of jazz, and felt that his new invention enabled the rider to "boogie" out on the waves, so he simply called it the "Morey Boogie" when he began producing large quantities of them. The word "board" was added later for marketing purposes, but Tom to this day still refers to it as simply "The Boogie".
(One of the first ads)
So, fast forward to the late 1970s, and Tom had reached the point where the demand was greater than he could handle, so he sold the brand to Kransco, a large toy company based in San Francisco. Kransco fully marketed and trademarked the term "Boogie Board" and would pursue legal action against any other company producing a similar board that used the words "boogie board" in their marketing or advertising. So, while I'm not sure which company actually came up with the term "bodyboard", all companies that came after Morey Boogie had to use that term to describe their boards.
(This was the ad that got me excited about bodyboarding)
Now, there are scores of companies making their version of Tom Morey's unassuming invention, but since the Boogie Board was first, many folks still refer to ALL bodyboards, no matter the brand, as a "Boogie Board". It's a case of the brand name becoming the generic name. Think "Bandaid", or "Coke", or "Kleenex" or "Velcro", or "Rollerblade". You get the idea. These are brands of a particular product that have become the accepted generic term for that product, right or wrong. As you can imagine, it can have marketing benefits for the current owners of the Morey Boogie brand as web searches for the words "boogie board" will potentially send folks to their brand instead of the many other bodyboard brands that exist today.
So, when someone asks you the difference between "boogie boarding" and "bodyboarding", now you know! They are one in the same!
(An ad featuring yours truly when I was a full-time pro with the brand)