First Skateboard Family
Interview with Robin and Brian Logan
Photographs by Warren Bolster
The Logan family started skating in 1956 when boards were not even available. You were at there at the birth of skateboarding so to speak. Did it feel like this is something very special when you started skating?
Brian: The Logan family did not start skateboarding in 1956, Brad and Robin were not even born yet. Bruce and I first started skateboarding in 1959 and Brad and Robin not until the mid 1960″s. When we first started skating we were only 8 and 9 years old, too young to realize if skateboarding was something special or not to us. We started by pulling steel wheel skates apart and nailed them to a 2×4. It was not until 1960-61 until we found out about clay wheels and Chicago trucks.
When exactly has the family started Logan Earth Ski and what prompted to do it in first place?
Brian: Bruce and I first started Logan Earth Ski in 1975 in our backyard. When the first Cadillac Urethane wheels came out and I saw Bahne making fiberglass boards we decided to make some boards. At that time Bruce was already making his own boards, but what made me jump back into making skateboards is because I knew nobody was as good as Bruce during that time period and no one was making solid wood boards.
‘AT THAT TIME BRUCE WAS ALREADY MAKING HIS OWN BOARDS, BUT WHAT MADE ME JUMP BACK INTO MAKING SKATEBOARDS IS BECAUSE I KNEW NOBODY WAS AS GOOD AS BRUCE DURING THAT TIME PERIOD AND NO ONE WAS MAKING SOLID WOOD BOARDS.’
I came across following story from Jim Goodrich’s Skateboard History Timeline. In 1969 Larry Stevenson invents and patents the kicktail. Though not accepted at first, other manufacturers eventually copy the idea. Most of the companies balk at paying a royalty to Stevenson and he eventually loses his patent rights in court. Gordon & Smith, Hobie, Suregrip, and LoganEarthski are the only companies who agree to pay a royalty on Stevenson’s design. What is your recollection of the event?
Brian: There were only 2 companies that paid Larry Stevenson a royalty and that was G&S and Logan Earth Ski and just to clarify one more thing my brother Bruce helped Larry with designing that first kick tail in 1969. Larry only collected about 3 months of royalty’s before the courts ruled against his patented claim.
How were you able to get skaters like Jay Adams and Tony Alva to join the team?
Brian: When Zephr broke up Torger Johnson who was on our team he persuaded Tony Alva to join the Logan team and Jay Adams at first went with another company but he was not happy there and he asked Tony to ask me if he could get on the Logan Earth Ski Team and of course that was a no brainer.
‘…AND JUST TO CLARIFY ONE MORE THING MY BROTHER BRUCE HELPED LARRY WITH DESIGNING THAT FIRST KICK TAIL IN 1969.’
Who produced the boards at the time? Were there already shops out there that specialized in board manufacturing?
Brian: At first we made the boards in our backyard but we grew so fast that we had to hire 2 more wood working shops to make our oak boards and then from there we branched out and added 2 more companies that made laminated and exotic solid wood boards.
What caused Logan Earth Ski to stop producing and selling boards?
Brian: In 1980 we closed the doors along with about everyone in the industry due to skateparks closing down because the insurance companies cancelled their liability insurance. By 1980 there were so many manufacturers and so much junk on the market that also contributed to the downfall.
‘BY 1980 THERE WERE SO MANY MANUFACTURERS AND SO MUCH JUNK ON THE MARKET THAT ALSO CONTRIBUTED TO THE DOWNFALL.’
As per your IG it looks like you are back producing boards again. What initiated the comeback?
Robin: Yes I have boards again. I’ve put the Logan Earth Ski name on a more current board so I can start having team riders. I’ve done a basic popsicle shape which come in various sizes. I wanted again to have a couple riders out there and I found them. My Team consists of 2 young kids Elin and Kelley. Both 10 years old. Elin, she lives in Minnesota and Kelley he lives in California. Both kids have the passion and the spirit of skateboarding. Im so proud to have them represent my company. Oh another huge factor is both sets of parents and siblings are amazing also. I’ve had the urge to bring Logan Earth ski out from the 70’s into the current day. Nothing can replace the history from what we did back than and nothing should. So to launch into this day and age I have chosen to do what is in my heart and that’s just what I’m doing.
You produce your boards at Would Shop in Montana. How have you ended up there?
Robin: This last batch of board were produced in Montana. Boards are still difficult to get. It always seems to be something, either one place doesn’t wanna take you because your order isn’t big enough or it’s an issue with them getting what they need to make boards. Either way the wait time to get boards is 30-90 days. So I just searched around found a gentleman who is able to fill my order who puts out a great quality board made in the United States and that’s how it happened. No major re-launch, just roll out what I can do and when I can do it.
Last Question. If you could interview one person, who would it be and why?
Robin: I think I’d like to interview Tony Hawk. I admire everything he has done/doing for Skateboarding. He is an amazing human being. I would love to sit and ask him a few things about the sport we both have passion for. The love of skateboarding runs in my blood.
‘I WAS THE FIRST GIRL TO PULL OFF THIS TRICK (KICK FLIP). II LEARNED IT FROM CURT LINDGREN BEFORE THE OLLIE OR THE HEEL FLIP WAS INVENTED.’