eBodyboarding.com went online for the first time in April 1999, one year after the most popular search engine of all time – Google – made its debut on the World Wide Web.
The blogging phenomenon had just exploded, Napster was changing the way music was consumed, and the dot-com bubble was about to burst.
In 1999, desktop computers and laptops were the only devices available for browsing the internet, and Amazon was focusing on “customer experience” in order to become a successful company.
Meanwhile, in a small condo in San Clemente, California, Jay and Vicki were using half of their garage as a warehouse to stock bodyboards, fins, wetsuits, and boogie-related gear.
Today, eBodyboarding.com is one of the largest bodyboarding retailers with over 4,000 square feet of space to accommodate boards, apparel, accessories, swimwear, etc.
Jay and Vicki: The Heart of eBodyboarding.com
Jay Reale was born in Ocean City, Maryland, in 1964.
He was the first professional bodyboarder from the East Coast of the United States, claiming four Eastern Surfing Association (ESA) titles, a US amateur title, and two Morey Boogie nationals.
In 1987, one year after earning a bachelor’s degree in Earth Science/Secondary Education, Jay moved to California.
While competing and traveling the world, Jay Reale also found time to write articles for bodyboarding magazines, and work as a TV commentator for Fox Sports and ESPN.
The bodyboarder competed on the GOB World Tour, Australian bodyboarding tour, USBA Tour and BIA Tour until he eventually put an end to his competitive career in 1998.
“Vicki and I both had our sponsor contracts end at the close of 1998,” Jay told SurferToday.
“Things weren’t looking good to be able to continue as pro bodyboarders, so I started applying for jobs, and Vicki set out to start working on building a website.”
“Tom Morey had sort of sparked the idea to do an online store, and the internet was blowing up at the time, so it was really perfect timing.”
“No one else at the time was focused on internet sales. It took us a while to get going after launching the website on April 15, 1999, because many of the bodyboarding brands didn’t want to sell to us.”
According to Jay and Vicki, companies were afraid eBodyboarding.com would discount everything and that their existing surf shop accounts would give them grief, but after numerous assurances, the duo was finally able to add a good mix of products.
“Custom X and Viper were our first two vendors, and we eventually built it from there,” adds the founder of the website.
“We now have four full-time employees and our own range of products under the Tribe brand, and another business called JrGuards.com.”
“So things are a lot more complicated than they were in those early days, but one thing hasn’t changed – we are still selling ‘fun,’ which is always a pleasure!”
Vicki Reale was born in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, in 1973. She began riding the boogie board and competing at the age of 16.
The Australian became the first women’s national champion and won several World Flowboarding Championships. Vicki met Jay in Australia, and the couple has been together ever since.