What’s the difference between bodyboarding and boogie boarding? Are they the same thing? The answer is actually pretty simple. Here’s how a bodyboard vs boogie board compares.
To understand the relationship between the boogie board and the bodyboard, we have to go all the way back to the ’70s.
During the time of disco and afros, boogie board creator Tom Morey was living in Hawaii. He was inspired to invent the Boogie board after a Baha’i prayer.
The passage had a statement in it that said, “convey upon me, oh, my God, a thought which will turn this planet into a rose garden.”
With a knife in hand, he used a newspaper and foam to put it together, and he was able to go out in the water with it. Pretty impressive when you think about it.
How many of us could make something that cool with only foam and newspaper? Morey used the board to ride the waves of Big Island’s Kong Coast in Hawaii.
When he was thinking of names, Morey first thought to call it S.N.A.K.E. It was an acronym for side, navel, arm, knee, and elbow, which are the parts of the body we use to ride Boogie boards.
Fortunately, he was persuaded by friends to think of another name. Could you imagine calling these snake boards and calling this activity snake boarding?
Oddly enough, there are boards that are called snake boards. They were invented in South Africa. These days they’re more often called street boards.
Tom eventually decided to change the name of the board to the Morey Boogie. The name boogie came from a style of Jazz called “boogie-woogie”, popularized in the 1920s.
Tom Morey was a jazz drummer and a big fan of the jazz music genre. With his love for jazz, he chose the “boogie board” as the name for the invention because the ride was a “boogie” on the waves.
Tom would begin to sell the Morey Boogie when he moved to California. The demand eventually got too high for him, and he sold his invention to Kransco, a toy company in San Francisco. Kransco would later trademark the term “Boogie Board” to use as the name of the product.
This legally prevented other companies from using that name when selling their own version of it. As a result, other companies would have to rely on the name bodyboard as a way to indicate they were selling the same thing. Though with a simple google search, you can see it’s common the names are often used interchangeably.
It’s a case of when the brand name for a product becomes the generic name for it. For example, Jacuzzi’s were sold by a company called Jacuzzi.
Because of that, other companies that sell the product have to use the name hot tubs or whirlpool baths to avoid copyright infringement.
For the most part, no. They’re basically the same size and have the same function. Though some have found there are slight differences between bodyboards and the brand name product “Boogie Board”. One difference is that the Boogie Board is found in most retail stores and at a cheap price.
People can buy bodyboards near surf shops at a more expensive price. The cost and quality of bodyboards are much better online (top 10 bodyboards).
Meanwhile, children and beginners are more likely to use a boogie board. Beginners and professional surfers usually ride the bodyboard.
One other major difference between the brand name and the bodyboard is the wave riding. The boogie board is for smaller waves, while the bodyboard is for larger waves. In fact, the competitions for riding the waves are called bodyboarding competitions.
It’s rare to find one called a Boogey boarding competition. There’s more of a serious tone to wave riding when you hear surfers refer to what they’re doing as bodyboarding.
The name boogie boarding doesn’t give off that same serious wave riding vibe. Perhaps it’s in the name, but to most people, it gives off more of a playful vibe.
Both boards are generally ridden in the prone position, which is to lie down on the board while riding the waves. But Surf shop bodyboards are perhaps more able to support drop-knee and stand-up style surfing than retail store boogieboards.
In this case of comparison, there are actually big differences between the Boogie Board and the surfboard. The clearest difference is size.
Boogie boards tend to be shorter and lighter, while surfboards tend to be longer and heavier. Surfing is also much more of a challenge than boogie boarding.
Riding a surfboard requires you to paddle and stand up on your board as the wave is about to come. Then you have to stay balanced on the board while you’re riding the wave.
It requires a little more physical fitness and practices, to say the least. You can check out more information we have in our beginner’s guide on how to surf.
But for those who are beginners in doing any watersport, boogie boarding is a much easier place to start. You mostly lie in the prone position and let the wave come to you. It won’t require you to do as much paddling or moving in the water.
The best bodyboard for you is one that suits your experience. If you’re a beginner, it’s better to choose a bigger and wider bodyboard. It’ll give you more control in the water as you get used to riding the waves.
Even though the speed may be lacking, it’s important for beginners to have some stability when getting started. For more advanced bodyboarders, smaller and more narrow tends to be better.
The board moves at a faster speed and allows for more maneuverability. This can help you be able to do all the different tricks that pro bodyboarders do.
In addition to experience, picking one that fits your size is helpful as well. Finding the ride size typically requires trial and error. Pick out a board to use in the water and see how it works for you.
If you don’t like the feel of it in the water, try another boar. But in general, if you’re taller and heavier, a longer and wider board might be more suitable for you. If you’re shorter and lighter, a shorter and more narrow board is more suitable.
Since the humble beginnings of boogie boarding, bodyboarding has grown into a worldwide professional sport. Championship events have been held annually in the US, Australia, Brazil, and all over the world.
The father of modern bodyboarding, Mike Stewart is one of the greatest wave riders of all time. He has won a total of nine world titles on account of his great drive and competitive spirit. Among female bodyboarders, Alexandra Rinder is currently one of the top bodyboarders in the world.
In the ’90s, after doing engineering for the company Boeing, he moved back to California and got into the surf scene again.
He did some consulting for the owners of the Morey Boogie Wham-O. In the 2000s, Morey moved on from boogie boarding products to try making soft surfboard products.
The most memorable of his creations were known as the Swizzle, which was a uniquely shaped nose-diving board. Most recently, Morey worked with another surf company called Catch Surf, which helped him to market to more people. As of this date, Tom Morey is still alive at the ripe old age of 84.
Whether you call it boogie-boarding or bodyboarding, the most important thing is that you have fun doing it. As long as you’re having fun, you can feel free to call it whatever you want.