The Coast News Group
Sea Notes

From sidewalk surfing to carving concrete

From what I am told, La Jolla surfboard maker Peter Parkins was the first to take the metal wheels from roller skates and attach them to a board, thus inventing the skateboard. That big bang of the skate world, which occurred circa 1950, resulted in maybe 100 surfers enjoying a sport that would become the most popular in the U.S. half a century later.
By the late 1950s, a young boy in Hermosa Beach named Bruce Logan received a pair of metal skates for Christmas. According to Logan, “I couldn’t ride the skates, so I made a board with a milk carton box attached to it with two sticks for steering. In six months I got pretty good at that, and tore the box and the sticks from the box. That was the first skateboard I had ever seen, and kids would run out of their houses when I skated down the street.”
Over the years, Logan became better than pretty good at skateboarding, appearing on national TV in the 1960s with the prestigious Makaha Skateboard Team and working to become the 1975-1976 World Champion. He didn’t retire from skating until 1986 when he took fourth in a pro contest, two places ahead of an up-and-comer named Tony Hawk. “Tony called me Old Man, and I called him Gumby,” Bruce recalled with a laugh.
Last month, Logan and Hawk were honored as two of the first four inductees in the Van’s Skateboarding Hall of Fame. The other two on that short list were Dogtown’s Tony Alva and aerial pioneer Danny Way.
I had the privilege of riding up to the event with Bruce and his brother Brian, along with the rest of the Logan family: the recently deceased Barbara, pro skater Brad and Women’s Skateboarding World Champion, Robin.
In the early to mid-1970s, skateboarding was dominated by the Logans, who became known as the first family of skateboarding. Their company, Logan Earth Ski, dominated the market with a team that included all the best skaters of the day including Alva and Jay Adams.
Prior to the awards ceremony, Brian Logan gave an abbreviated and informative history of his family’s involvement with the sport. Bruce followed up by graciously honoring their mother and other leading lights in the sport that had recently passed away. The evening caused me to reflect on my own romance with skateboarding, pounding metal roller skates onto two-by-fours, moving on to clay wheels and finally urethane attached to the Logan Earth Ski that I took to La Costa in the days when the streets were paved and housing tracts were a few years from being completed. While I struggled to bomb the legendary black hill, Bruce and his best student, Ty Paige would take the hill at 40-plus miles per hour, performing one of the many tricks Bruce had invented, the nose wheelie, where the skater hangs 10 and balances on the front two wheels. Nobody else was even close in those days.
Hitting the pavement once too often caused me to reconsider skating and I put my board away and headed back to the soft landing offered in the ocean. Then, a few years ago, Gravity Skateboards owner Michael Bream gave me a downhill board, which was a massive improvement over the boards I had left behind 30 years prior.
My newest skateboard is an amazing downhill creation from designer and surfer/skater Chris Corrente. Known by the name Kuwmaz Carve System, Corrente’s board takes skateboarding from survival into a new world of concrete carving joy. Next time it’s flat, try sidewalk surfing. You may be surprised how much fun it is. But be careful, they haven’t made concrete any softer.

1 comment

conno (greg hill) March 2, 2010 at 7:59 pm

I worked for Brian building his original boards in his garage on Santa Fe Dr in Encinitas, and finally moved on after working for him in the Solana Beach warehouse. I just wanted the family to know that I really cared for there mother and am sorry to know that she has passed away. I hope the rest of the family are well. If they would like to respond, that would be okay.

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