Bodyboarding Vs Boogie Boarding

If you’re familiar with watersports, you’ve probably come across bodyboarding and boogie boarding at some point. But for those of you who are unfamiliar with them, they’re pretty similar to surfing, except you ride a much shorter board whilst lying down instead. 

The great thing about watersports is that a lot of them are pretty similar in nature, so it’s pretty easy to transition between them if you’re looking to try something new. 

But what is the difference between bodyboarding and boogie boarding? 

The Quick Difference 

Trying to find a difference between a bodyboard and a boogie board is like trying to find a difference between Kleenex and tissues. The two are effectively the same thing, except ‘boogie board’ is a trademark name. 

History Of The ‘Boogie’ Board 

Back in Hawaii in 1971, Tom Morey invented the first boogie board out of nothing more than some foam and some newspaper. Morey loved to experiment, but had a hard time settling on a name for his new product. 

He first thought to call them S.N.A.K.E boards, which was an acronym for side, naval, arm, knee and elbow – all the parts of the body used to ride the board. After some consideration, Morey didn’t think the name was catchy enough, and decided to rename his creation. 

Besides his love for the waves, Morey was also a big jazz enthusiast, and decided to rename the board to the Morey Boogie. It was inspired by the “boogie-woogie” jazz style which was first popularized in the 1920s. Soon it was called a “boogie board”, as he compared riding one to “boogying” on the waves. 

Shortly afterwards Morey moved to California, and the demand for boogie boards was more than he could handle on his own. He sold his invention to a San Francisco based toy company named Kransco, who later trademarked “Boogie Board” to use as the name of the product. 

Because of this other companies were legally prevented from selling their own version of the product with the same name, so the style of board was also given the name “bodyboard” to show that they were selling the same thing. 

Nowadays both the terms boogie boards and bodyboards are used interchangeably, kind of like how hot tubs are also called Jacuzzis (Jacuzzi being the name of the company that sold the product).

Differences Between Bodyboards And Boogie Boards 

Despite largely being referred to as the same product used for the same sport, there are some slight differences between the two that can be hard to determine. They may not be very significant, but it’s worth considering the following. 

Differences Between Bodyboards And Boogie Boards 


Interestingly, boogie boards are generally a lot cheaper than bodyboards – which doesn’t usually happen with brand-name products. 

Boogie boards tend to draw the attention of those who are new to the sport, or those who are looking to pick up the activity as a new hobby. Customers who purchase boogies boards tend to be children or amateur bodyboarders who are just starting out. 

Bodyboards, on the other hand, tend to have come in a wider variety and can address the needs of all users. Whether you’re an amateur or child, or a more advanced rider who takes part in professional tournaments – there’s a lot more choice. 

If you’re looking to take bodyboarding seriously, be prepared to spend more on getting yourself a good quality board that will last you as you navigate your bodyboarding journey.

On the other hand, if you’re looking to casually pick up the sport and you’re not interested in performing tricks, a boogie board will be just fine. 


The biggest and most significant difference between a bodyboard and a boogie board is the design. In comparison to bodyboards, boogie boards are generally considered “basic”, which makes them a great choice for beginner riders. 

Bodyboards are often considered to be intimidating thanks to their more complex design and advanced features. If you’re looking to try some of the cool tricks that professionals can do, it’s better to opt for a bodyboard. 

Bodyboards are known for being hydrodynamic, and are made from high quality materials such as polypropylene, expanded polystyrene or low-density polyethylene – which is sometimes used to construct ship/boat decks.

They also include fiberglass stinger tubes which makes them stiff so you can control the board better. As bodyboards are usually used by professionals, they also have channels on the slick tale that provide better grip. 

When it comes to boogie boards, you’ll find the quality of materials and grip power to be on the lower end of the scale. They’re also less hydrodynamic, which makes them a better fit for children and hobbyists. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is It Called Bodyboarding Or Boogie Boarding? 

Whether you refer to the sport as bodyboarding or boogie boarding is entirely up to your own personal preference. However, the sport has evolved over the decades and now includes everyone.

From young children using a $10 boogie board, to professionals who use $500 boards to ride 10-foot waves, it’s definitely evolved a lot. 

In terms of what to call it however, boogie boarding now has a child-like ring to it, and doesn’t really sum up the seriousness and intensity of the sport. A boogie board sounds more like a beach toy than something a professional athlete would use. 

Most advanced and professional riders refer to the sport as bodyboarding, so if you want to be taken seriously, make sure you refer to it as such. But if you’re just in the mood to mess around, and paddle along in the ocean, by all means call it boogie boarding.

Should I Use A Bodyboard Or Boogie Board? 

If you’re wondering whether you should buy a boogie board or bodyboard, you need to consider what your goals are. 

A bodybord is suitable for: 

  • Beginners 
  • Kids 
  • Amateurs 
  • Hobby enthusiasts
  • Intermediate riders
  • Advanced riders 
  • Professional riders

A boogie board is suitable for: 

  • Beginners 
  • Kids
  • Amateurs 
  • Hobby enthusiasts 

Is Bodyboarding Right For Me? 

It’s worth mentioning that bodyboarding is a widely recognized extreme sport, and bodyboarders are generally considered stronger than surfers, as the sport is considered way more intense. However, you can casually take up bodyboarding and have fun whilst doing it. 

If you’re just starting out, consider getting a boogie board. Not only are they a lot cheaper, “boogie boarding” is known for being less intense, and more relaxing.

Not only that, they’re a lot easier to use than bodyboards, as they’re generally bigger and wider, but are best used on smaller waves. 

What Is The Best Bodyboard?

Choosing the right bodyboard for you will depend on your experience. As a beginner, you’ll want to opt for a bigger and wider board as this will give you more control when riding the waves. Bigger boards are usually slower, however, it’s important to prioritize stability over speed as a bodyboarding newbie. 

More advanced riders will want to pick a smaller and narrower board, as it will move faster through the water and you’ll be able to do an array of different tricks. 

Alongside experience, you’ll also want to pick a board that fits your size. This will take some trial and error, so try out different boards before picking one for you (find a shop that will let you rent boards).

In general, if you’re taller and heavier, you’ll want to go for a bigger board, and if you’re shorter, a narrow board is more suitable. 

Is Bodyboarding A Professional Sport? 

Although bodyboarding was born in the Pacific, it’s widely enjoyed by watersports enthusiasts across the world and has even developed into a professional sport. There are annual Championship events held in the US, Brazil, Australia, and all across the world. 

If you’re serious about bodyboarding, you can pursue it as a professional career.

Does Tom Morey Still Make Boogie Boards?

Although Tom Morey sold his design to Kransco, in the ‘90s he moved back to California to rejoin the surfing scene.

For a while he did some consulting for the More Boogie Wham-O company, but in the 2000s he switched his attention from boogie board products to soft surfboard products. 

Most recently, Morey worked for the surfing company Catch Surf, but now he’s retired and enjoying a much quieter life. 

What Is The Difference Between Bodyboarding And Bodysurfing? 

A lot of people tend to mix up bodysurfing with bodyboarding, but the two are very different things. 

Bodysurfing is the act of riding a wave with no board, or a small paddle board which is no bigger than a foot and a half long. It’s a pretty intense and physical sport that requires a lot of effort. 

Just like bodyboarding, bodysurfing is a serious sport which also has professional Championship competitions all

over the world. 


There seems to be very few differences between bodyboards and boogie boards, but even the subtle differences can make all the difference. They mostly differ in terms of design and users.

Boogie boards tend to be best for children and amateurs, whereas bodyboards cater to a wide range of users.