Markers would honor birthplace of the bodyboard

  • Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder

Hawaii County might officially commemorate a Kailua-Kona beach as the birthplace of the bodyboard.

Nonprofit Malama Wai‘aha has donated a pair of historical markers to the county with the intention of erecting them at Wai‘aha Beach Park, where the Boogie Board was invented in 1971.

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Puna Councilman Matt Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder said the two markers reflect both the ancient Polynesian origins of bodyboarding and its modern proliferation.

One of the markers, Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder said, explains that the oldest known paipo board was found in a cave on the island’s southern coast. Paipo boards are considered to be the forerunners of the modern bodyboard, as they were ridden on the belly.

The other marker will commemorate former Big Island resident Tom Morey, who lived near Wai‘aha Beach and invented the Boogie Board in 1971.

Although they refer to two different locations, both markers are intended to be placed at Wai‘aha Beach Park.

“To me, I think it’s a success story for somebody from the Big Island,” said Kaneali‘i-Kleinfelder. “I think it’s pretty crazy that this one guy made this thing that has sold millions around the world. So many of our keiki have gone on to do great things after using these.”

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The Hawaii County Finance Committee will discuss a resolution to accept the donation of the two markers on behalf of the Hawaii County Department of Parks and Recreation on Tuesday.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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