20 Vintage Bodyboards that Helped Shape the Sport

Archaeological evidence suggests that riding waves have always existed since humans gained the courage to swim the ocean for fishing and recreation. In this sense, archaeologists agree bodysurfing is the oldest type of wave-catching that continued to develop into modern wave-catching practices like surfing and bodyboarding.

The first humans in recorded history to bodyboard were the ancient indigenous Polynesians who rode “Alaia” (pronounced ah-lie-ah) boards on either their bellies, knees, or feet. Alaia boards were generally made from the wood of Acacia koa trees that were native to the Polynesian Islands.

Since then, bodyboarding has come a long way and for over five decades, different iterations of bodyboards have graced the ocean waves. Today, we even have electric bodyboards available!

Looking back on the past years, it’s amazing to see how these bodyboards reflected the era in their fun, unique, and compact design.

20 Iconic Vintage Bodyboards

If you’re interested in getting into the world of bodyboard collecting, or simply just curious about the history itself, check out the vintage bodyboards that we consider helped shape bodyboarding into what it is today!

#1. Morey Boogie Board

Morey Boogie Board

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1972

Features: Flexible, 70/30 rails

It’s obvious that the most influential bodyboard of all time is the one that started it all. After he made his very first bodyboard in 1971 by cutting a 9-foot piece of polyethylene foam board in half, Tom Morey began tinkering with the design and shape to improve the feel. He settled on a shape that still looks primitive when compared to its modern-day counterparts. Yet, in many ways, the size and rails of modern boards are still fairly similar to Morey’s original concept.

This board in particular was acquired personally from Tom Morey by Rus Calisch, an advertising director for the International Surfing Magazine back in 1972.

Watch Tom Morey and Marchia Morey celebrate International Bodyboarding Day, held every year on the first Saturday of November.

#2. Morey Boogie 132

Morey Boogie 132

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1975

Features: Square tail

After he rode his first invention, Tom Morey thought to himself, “This thing turns, it’s durable, it can be made cheaply, it’s lightweight, it’s impenetrable. God, this could be a really big thing!’”. As it turns out, he was right. 

Thanks to his love for the boogie-woogie music genre, he called it Morey Boogie Boards. The first generation of Morey Boogie hit the market in 1975. The model number of early Morey Boogies corresponds with the board’s production year following the Baha’i calendar—132 BE = 1975. 

Boogie boards were sold way cheaper than regular surfboards because of their compact shape. The feeling was different, too. Thus, people became curious to try the newest type of surfing.

#3. Morey Boogie Pro-Line Red Edge

Morey Boogie Pro-Line Red Edge

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1979

Features: “Red Edge” rail stiffener, High Density Polyethylene bottom

The first professional bodyboarding competition ever was the 1979 Morey/Gap Pro. It was held in Huntington Beach, California, and Tom Morey’s Morey Boogie, a brand that was already selling thousands of bodyboards per month, sponsored the entire event.

Boogie boards needed an upgrade dedicated to high-skilled surfers, and the Morey Boogie Pro-Line Red Edge delivered. Back when it was introduced, it was the most state-of-the-art bodyboard because of its newest concept, an HDPE bottom skin. 

The “Red Edge” rail stiffener was a layer of HDPE that was sandwiched between the blue bottom and the core, showing a visible red line down the length of the rail, resulting in being the stiffest board available at that time.

#4. Sure Craft North Shore

4 sure craft north shore

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1980

Features: Built-in handle, tunnel bottom

The Sure Craft North Shore Bodyboard is historically significant for two reasons: One, it was used in the first professional bodyboard contest held at Pipeline, Hawaii. Second, it is the first bodyboard competition to document a maneuver Pat Caldwell performed called “El Rollo”—one of the most iconic bodyboarding tricks.

Designed by bodyboarding pioneer, Jack  “The Ripper” Lindholm, the North Shore featured a tunnel bottom that redirected water flow for better tracking. It also was one of the more advanced boards featuring a built-in handle, skegs, and leash.

#5. Bronzed Aussie

5 bronzed aussie

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1984

Features: Double skin construction

After winning the World Pro Surfing Championships, Australian surfers Ian Cairns and Peter Towned developed a new board to compete against Morey’s boogie boards. 

The Bronzed Aussie featured a double skin construction for greater rigidity, better performance, and quick response which was akin to Morey’s original series.

#6. Morey Boogie Mach 10

6 morey boogie mach 10

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1984

Features: No wingers, three stringers

When surfers hear the words “Mach 10 bodyboard”, contoured wingers will come to mind. It’s true that Morey’s Mach 10 series are known for their winger rail designs, but wingers didn’t appear until the second generation. 

This first generation’s greatest contribution to bodyboarding was introducing three stringer flat strips of fibreglass and graphite. These materials were embedded into the core to increase rigidity and durability. The concept of stringers was later duplicated by several bodyboard iterations until eventually becoming a common component in modern bodyboards.

#7. Turbo Surf Designs Super Turbo

7 turbo surf designs super turbo

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1985

Features: Long scale, narrow nose

Morey Boogie led the bodyboarding market in the early 80s until Russ Brown—better known as Captain Turbo—introduced their SE series, which gave the bodyboarding goliath a run for its money.

Brown’s Company, Turbo Surf, then developed a bodyboard similar to a longboard. The Super Turbo was the longest bodyboard at that time. It was built with knee riding in mind and featured a full plastic plate for durability, plus additional padding to cushion the knees and chest for comfort. The flat nose design was called Turbo 1 and a later narrow nose design was called Turbo 2.

#8. Airwaves J.P. Model

8 airwaves jp model

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1986

Features: Channel bottom, slick skin rails

Airwaves J.P. Model was ahead of its time due to its similar shape to most modern bodyboards with a crescent tail. To increase control of the board, a lot of companies tried to incorporate channels into their lineups. Most failed, resulting in bodyboard channels looking like hard-edged grooves randomly caved in the center of the bodyboard.

Airwaves were the exception. J.P. Patterson, one of the bodyboard pioneers, used his experience as a rider to nail the concept of channels on bodyboards. Each Airwaves bodyboard was hand shaped with concave rails. The closer the concaves were to the tail, the more refined the concaves were.

To this day, Patterson’s revolutionary designs for functional channels are still being used on most modern bodyboards. 

#9. Scott Hawaii Newtech Jammer

9 scott hawaii newtech jammer

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1986

Features: Newtech deck, stringers

Scott Hawaii introduced the Newtech Jammer boards featuring wild graphics to tap into the funky style trends that swept the 80s. The board featured El Fiberglass stringers for durability, a smooth skin bottom for speed, and their signature, Newtech Deck.

#10. MacSki Pro-Surf

10 macski pro surf

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1986

Features: Twin skegs, handle

MacSki, a company based in South Africa, tried to be different after its bodyboards grew in popularity. They wanted to design a bodyboard that was meant for competitions. This meant that the board must be rigid without sacrificing speed. And they managed to do just that.

MacSki produced a bodyboard with an epoxy-like construction and featured twin fins. It also came with built-in handles for added utility. 

During that era, South African bodyboard contests had specific divisions based on the type of bodyboard used. Foam boards were considered “soft core”, and MacSki style boards were considered “hard core”.

#11. Easy Rider The Ripper

11 easy rider the ripper

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1987

Features: “Speed-Slotted” bottom

Back in the late 70s, Jack “The Ripper” Lindholm was the proprietor of Dropknee—a footwork technique that involves heavily weighting the outside of one foot—which was known back then as the Jack Stance. The Ripper was the first pro model introduced by Easy Rider and was appropriately endorsed by the legend himself.

The Ripper was notably longer than most body bodyboards with its signature bottom called Speed-Slotted. To enhance both control and speed, the Speed-Slotted bottom had two ridges added near the rail to act like reverse channels. 

#12. Ahi Board

12 ahi board

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1988

Features: Venturi bottom, concave grip deck, molded fins

As bodyboarding continued to increase in popularity in the late 80s, the number of experimental bodyboard designs kept piling up. The short-lived Ahi Board was one of them. Claiming to be the next revolutionary step in bodyboarding, the obscure, exotic design of the Ahi board featured fins molded right into the channel bottom. 

Ahi Board’s overall shape tried to replicate the fluid dynamic ingenuity of a boat to a bodyboard using Arpro foam. Alas, the end product was uncomfortable to ride on and hard to control.

#13. Morey Boogie Mach 7-7

13 morey boogie mach 7-7

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1989

Features: Crescent tail, 60/40 rails

Hands down, the Mach 7­-7 is the most iconic bodyboard of all time. Its signature yellow deck, black rails, and orange surlyn bottom graced magazine covers, tv commercials, and beaches worldwide. No wonder it’s still one of Morey’s main flagships to this day.

The charm of the Mach 7-7 was that it was crafted with a perfect balance of speed, maneuverability and flex. The overall outline was suited for either dropknee or prone riding. Not to mention, it’s used among many professionals in competitions, yet most people could afford its price.

Thanks to its popularity, versatility, and cheap price, beaches got so oversaturated with Mach 7-7s that it quickly became the gold standard to which all other bodyboards would be compared.

#14. BZ Ben Board

14 bz ben board

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1990

Features: Slick rails and chines

Ben Severson is one of bodyboarding’s legendary pioneers. He was considered Mike Stewart’s nemesis in the 80s, the very first real rivalry in bodyboarding.

Ben pushed board designs when everyone was riding a Morey Boogie Mach 7-7 and helped cement BZ in the history books with the classic BZ Ben Board. It was a highly anticipated bodyboard that was released at the right time. Ben’s groundbreaking signature model was arguably the first “modern bodyboard”.

BZ Ben board was a high-performance masterpiece built upon handcrafted functional design and durability. It featured an incredibly flat rocker for its time, 50/50 skin rails, and a stiff Arcel core. Ben Board also offered multiple sizes for different-sized riders, giving it a personal touch that was unique back then.

It was notably one of the fastest-selling boards in the BZ lineup proving that riders were willing to pay extra for a top ­of­ ­line board built for performance.

#15. Town & Country Pro Series

15 town and country pro series

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1990

Features: 50/50 rails with slick lower chine

In 1971, Craig Sugihara founded the Town & Country Surf Shop in Pearl City, Hawaii. Their distinctive yih yang logo is recognized globally by the surf community as an authentic icon.

T&C started introducing their bodyboard lineups in 1990. T&C’s strategy was to offer only boards for intermediate and advanced-level riders. With the help of BZ’s parent company, Sentinel, their bodyboard’s construction and features were comparable to other bodyboards under Sentinel.

T&C Pro Series Featured slick skin rails on the lower chine and was more compact compared to other bodyboards during its time.

#16. Turbo Surf Designs Mike Stewart Pro/Comp

16 turbo surf designs mike stewart pro comp

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1990

Features: Polyethylene core, Surlyn bottom

Mike Stewart is a nine-time World Champion bodyboarder and one of the early pioneers of the bodyboarding sport. The tube-riding expert invented new maneuvers and inspired surfers to push the limits beyond their age. Today, Stewart is widely recognized as the father and godfather of modern competitive bodyboarding and is considered the greatest bodyboarder of all time. 

In 1990, Mike endorsed the Mike Stewart Pro/Comp, which was a vastly different board from the others in the Turbo line. Rather than a stiff hard polystyrene bottom, the materials were more consistent with Morey Boogie’s line. It is no coincidence – the Turbo name was licensed to Morey Boogie to create this model. 

To show how much of a legend Mike Stewart is, here’s a short video of him still bodyboarding in his 50s!

#17. ESCA Banzai Master

17 esca banzai master

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1991

Features: Bolo tail, channels

20 years after Tom Morey invented the bodyboard, he decided his original was definitely flawed. Morey believed that bodyboards haven’t reached their peak and will probably continue to develop further. He decided to reinvent the way bodyboards are ridden by creating the Experimental Space Craft Association or ESCA. 

ESCA Banzai Master’s shape was unique at that time and was ridden differently. Riders had to place their elbows in the grooves and had to “flex” the board to achieve three-dimension control. 

Morey wanted surfers to enjoy the waves differently through a new set of moves—banking, looping, spinning, hopping, and skipping—done on the water’s surface that should be possible with the bodyboard.

#18. Hypersonic Blade

18 hypersonic blade

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1991

Features: Kevlar, channels

Looking at its design, you won’t believe that it was introduced in 1991 due to its uncanny resemblance to most modern bodyboards. Rather than marketing its performance, Hyper Sonic Blade focused on the board’s leading feature, the construction. 

Hypersonic Blade was extremely tough and rigid because it was made with Kevlar—the same material used in bullet-proof vests. The board was so hard that it could likely stop a bullet on its own. The company proudly boasted that the “high rigidity is guaranteed to prevent creasing” a trait that many people want in a bodyboard.

#19. Wave Rebel Keith Sasaki

19 wave rebel keith sasaki

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1992

Features: Volara rails

As the industry grew ever larger in the 90s, other companies offered crazier endorsement deals to team riders from Morey Boogie. Among these riders were a longtime Morey Boogie rider and dropknee master named Keith Sasaki, who officially made a switch to Wave Rebel. 

The release of his first pro model, the Wave Rebel Keith Sasaki, marked his move from Morey Boogie. Together with Wave Rebel, Keith designed his own custom shape bodyboard with a high-density rainbow bottom, volara rails, and of course, Keith’s exclusive deck colors.

#20. Morey Boogie Mach 8-TX

20 morey boogie mach 8-tx

Photo from http://www.vintagebodyboards.com/

Year: 1993

Features: Dimpled bottom

Morey Boogie Mach 8-TX’s unique dimple bottom dumbfounded everyone since people couldn’t imagine how a textured bottom bodyboard could improve riding performance.

Steven M. Moran, one of Morey’s bodyboarder inventors, believed that a dimpled bottom could trap air underneath the board, allowing it to glide over tiny air bubbles, thus generating greater speed.

Scientifically, Mach 8-TX’s design theory incorporates the Golf Ball Effect. It is also called air lubrication, where drag is reduced because of discrete depressions generating bubbles offering greater speed and a lighter feel for the object.

Whether Mach 8-TX actually worked or not is a mystery, but some people insist it was an undoubtedly fast board.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Where can I get vintage bodyboards?

A: The internet is a powerful tool for finding vintage bodyboards. Craigslist, eBay or even Trading Forums are available. Be aware of fake postings and only use trusted websites.

Garage sales are also a good place to find rare vintage bodyboards that are most likely stored in a bodyboard bag.

Q: I have an old bodyboard. How do I sell it?

A: Similar to looking for vintage bodyboards, your best bet to sell one is through the internet. Prices are different on certain websites, they often fluctuate depending on the demand. Make sure to get the best price possible!

Q: How much is my old bodyboard worth?

A: Rarity, demand, and condition will determine your vintage bodyboards’ worth.  You can refer to the Condition Rating Guide. The higher the rating the higher the price.

Rating Condition Details
10 Mint Flawless. Never ridden. May till be shrink-wrapped.
9 Excellent Nearly perfect. Barely visible flaws.
8 Very Good Very clean overall with a few minor flaws.
7 Good Clean but shows natural wear from use.
6 Decent Pretty good overall with some wear, fading, repair, or minor delamination.
5 Fair Some signs of use but also abuse. May require repair before riding.
4 Rough Abused with creases, large delamination, or a severely scratched bottom.
3 Poor Combination of creasing, delamination, scratches, fading, and wear.
2 Very Poor Extremely abused. Only worth collecting if rare or historically significant.
1 Trashed Completely unsalvageable.

Factors That May Increase Value:

  • Original packaging
  • No leash plug installed
  • Original factory decals intact
  • Stenciled art from iconic people
  • Signatures from iconic people

Factors That May Decrease Value:

  • Delamination
  • Creases
  • Repairs
  • Aftermarket decals: 
  • Leash plug
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