Tom Morey and Air Lubricated Surfboards

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“When a guy removes smoking, drinking, gambling and chasing women from his life, there’s a whole lot of time to do other neat stuff.” Tom Morey

Tom Morey just announces that he will be selling two of his experimental surfboard that he made in 1970 and 1976. Today lots of shapers are searching for something new, new technology, new shape, new materials… but the kick in the ass to do that mostly came from the Clark foam shutdown. Tom Morey explored, experimented and tried new things years ago.

Anyway the two board in question are AL1 and AL3 models. AL stands for air lubricated! How the hell can you lubricate something with air I ask? Well, thinking outside the box, that is what Tom Morey is known for.

AL3 by Tom Morey
Tom Moreys Air Lubricated Surfboard AL3

Tom Morey

Tom Morey was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1935. If I fast forward, today we thank Tom Morey for:

  • In the late 1950’s he created his first “concave nose pocket“.
  • In the 1950’s he invented the “Wing Tip,” a turned-down nose that is used in all surfboards today.
  • In 1964, he created the first polypropylene fin as the first commercial interchangeable fin system.
  • In 1965 he used resin impregnated cardboard to make a paper surfboards.
  • In 1965 he established the Tom Morey Invitational Nose Riding Championships, which was the first ever professional surfing competition.
  • In 1971, he designed the first practical bodyboard. He called it Boogie Board (he loved to Boggie).

Air Lubricated Surfboards

So what is an air lubricated surfboard or air lubrication in the first place? It is simply a way of breaking free from the water by using “steps” on the bottom of the planning surface. This is already in use for a long time on sea planes. The second test board Tom made (AL1 – Airlubricated One) had one step and looked something like this (is this really a surfboard :) ?).

AL 1 by Tom Morey
Tom Moreys Air Lubricated Surfboard AL1

The AL surfboard is over seven feet long but when the steps kick in action the steps lif it above the water and only a small part of the bottom is still touching the water so this feels like it is only a couple of feet long.

Tom built and tested the AL1 on Oahu, the board was really fas but hard to turn and bouncy so he could barely stand on it. The sharp edges were also very convenient to cut yourself. So Tom build a few more and surfboard AL3 looks much more like an ordinary surfboard. It has two steps and three planes.

“Once I knew for a fact that a wide board given freedom from drag would really fly, I was mentally free to think in terms of wide flat stone-skipping proportions, which in a way led to the development of the first boogie boards, which, in fact, given decent size waves, really scream along.” Tom Morey.

What has Tom been up to lately? Developing surfboards that are not hard nor soft but just something in between – Revolastic Surfboards. Check out his website.

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