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Bruce Logan, two-time world skateboarding champion and Hall of Famer, at the Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum in Simi Valley. Photo by Chris Ahrens
ColumnsWaterspot

A day with skateboarding’s first family

I grew up in the inland town of Montebello — not the best place to be a surfer. Since the ocean was 25 miles away, surfing was generally a weekend treat. On other days we studied Surfer Magazine or went sidewalk surfing, aka skateboarding.

Nobody I knew had the money to buy a manufactured skateboard, so I, like my friends, tore apart my steel-wheeled roller skates and hammered them onto a two-by-four. One pebble on the driveway and you were finished.

Our flesh must have contained silly putty, however, because we always seemed to bounce off the pavement. The worst that ever happened was a scraped knee.

Then again, I was not skating ramps or pools and the biggest challenge was the high school tennis court where I practiced turning, cutting back and hanging ten for hours.

I didn’t know it then, but there were other skateboarders who were taking these metallic deathtraps to the limit. One such quartet, named Logan, lived just around the corner in Hermosa Beach.

By the time the Makaha Skateboarding Team came to prominence, Bruce Logan was at center stage, doing 360s, nose wheelies and other moves I previously thought impossible.

While tops among them, Bruce was not the only talented Logan. His brothers, Brian and Brad, and his sister Robin were also busting down the doors of skateboarding performance.

Last Saturday, I along with a few hundred other surf/skaters, mostly of my vintage, gathered for “Lunch with the Logans,” a celebration held at Todd Huber’s Skateboarding Hall of Fame and Museum in Simi Valley.

Skate legends Tony Alva and Laura Thornhill, both of whom were Logan team standouts, spoke of the days when the Logans, who are alternately known as “The First Family of Skateboarding,” redefined the new sport.

Dogtown leader Alva spoke eloquently about living in the Logans’ shed in Leucadia, the place where Brian fashioned the prototypes that would become the industry standard under the name “Logan Earth Ski,” which was the perfect name for a device that revolutionized youth culture in a way topped only by rock ’n’ roll music.

In the mid-1970s I bought a Logan board for $25. I was in my 20s, strong and agile from surfing daily when I pulled up to La Costa’s black hill.

The road appeared as a silk ribbon, and I arrived to see local boys Gregg Weaver, Rodney Jessie, and Ty “Mr. Incredible” Page make the impossible look easy.

Page and Bruce Logan did endless 360s before Bruce upped the ante by rolling down the hill in a 40-mph nose wheelie, devoid, in my flawed memory, of any safety equipment. Turns out he didn’t need it, as he rarely fell.

The afternoon at the museum progressed joyfully, Brian Logan handling the microphone like Chick Hearn at a Lakers game. Logan, who knows all the players in the game intimately, shared the mic with rivals like Henry Hester, his brothers and his sister, Robin, the skater who once took $4 for four races from Hester after defeating the champ in four consecutive runs.

These few words are a mere pinky fingernail of the body that made up that afternoon. Thanks for including me in a day that celebrates your family’s accomplishments, Brian. So stoked to help document some days that changed the world.

Chris Ahrens’ latest book, “AlphaPhoenicia, A Gangster’s Fairytale,” is available through his website at: Godngangsters.com, or through Amazon Books.