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Skateboarding News

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Stardom Status for Bruce L, Tony A, Danny W and Tony H.

Written by Xavier Lannes

Skateboarding has many icons and living legends who have made their marks on the progression of skateboarding. Past generations paved the way for future generations and it was time to celebrate our heroes with some kind of award. Well, for a couple of weeks, a survey was open on a website (at by the IASC (International Association of Skateboard Companies) and we were all supposed to give our opinion. I did and I hope you did it too. For those who did not know, a list of the best skaters from the past 4 decades (60’s, 70’s, 80’s and 90’s) was posted on the site and anyone could log-in and vote for someone from the list. The idea behind the survey was to elect the skater who has been most influential throughout each decade: people who have invented, shaped, perfectioned skateboarding and lead the movement with their resilience, talent, passion and respect is due for their contribution. The results are out, and boy, there are surprises.

The first surprise was coming from the list itself: not a single woman skater was there. It seems that women like Laura Thornhill, Ellen Oneal, Peggy Oki, Vicky Vickers, Robin Logan, Kim Cespedes, Cindy Whitehead, Judy Omaya, Cara-Beth Burnside, Holly Lyons, and others (want more?) never skated, never won contests, never were sponsored or never existed. Too bad that the list has now been removed from the website and is nowhere to find.

The second surprise is that none of the winners has a slalom, free style or street background. Check yourself: the winners are Bruce Logan, Tony Alva, Tony Hawk and Danny Way, power and stamina has won over subtlety.

True, free style has been dead for a good 20 years now; with the last biggest stars being Per Welinder, Pierre Andre Senizergues and Rodney Mullen. So the absence of freestyler does not come as a big surprise. But given that, for the past 30 years, street has been the dominant (I should actually say the "only")force behind skateboarding, it is quite noteworthy (to say the least) that not a street skater was elected. On the contrary, the winners have strong vert background: Tony Alva was known to be the most radical pool rider of his time (maybe of all times), and Tony Hawk and Danny Way were made famous with their extravaganzas and prowess on the ramp, mega ramp, mini mega ramp, half pipe… Whatever you name it. True, Bruce Logan was never famous for riding pools or ramps, but that is simply because in the 60’s, pool or ramp riding was not yet invented and the technology was not there (remember that the urethane wheel was only invented in the 70’s).

So, on October 24, 2009 The Vans Skatepark at the Block in Orange, CA, will host the much anticipated event, which is supposed to be upon invitation, though the invitation has, as usual, instantly spread through the web and is available in any imaginable skate website. Tickets for skateboarding industry friends and family are a $50 donation to the non-profit “Go Skateboarding Foundation” which provides positive educational experiences, career-minded programming, sends kids to skatecamps on a scholarship and supports various skateboard-related charities, including: The Tony Hawk Foundation, Ray Underhill, the Johnny Romano Foundation, and the Patrick Kerr Foundation. IASC Members receive a $5 discount per ticket.

In addition to a live musical performance, the event will feature autographs signing, memorabilia, combi bowl seshs, pics with pros, art auctions, shakehands and a raging good time! Guests will enjoy cocktails and appetizers and have the opportunity to bid on a large selection of invaluable memorabilia at both a silent and live auction.

Skateboarding has grown up, and not in a bad way - we can look back and be proud of the history of our sport," said John Bernards, executive director of IASC. "Taking the opportunity to acknowledge and honor the individuals who have so greatly influenced and shaped the industry allows us to look forward to the future of skateboarding without ever forgetting our roots and everything it took to get where we are today each and every shenanigan, triumph and challenge."

Let’s review the bio of the 4 winners.

The 60’s: Bruce Logan

Bruce Logan began skateboarding in the 50s on a board he built from a two by four and roller skates. He became a member of the prestigious Makaha Skateboard team one day that he was skating at Redondo Breakwater, during the finals of the Laguna Swimwear Masters. The famous Makaha team pulled up in a Chevrolet Nomad station wagon, and they all started skating. Jimmy Ganzer, the Makaha manager, came up and asked if he wanted to be on the team. Makaha was founded by Venice Beach lifeguard Larry Stevenson in 1968. Larry took the look and style of surfing to make the first modern day skateboard with all pro components. He called it "SURF SKATE." A company like Makaha had a lot to offer: travel, demos, department store appearances, TV and commercials and fame. He then became one of the first professional skateboarders.

Larry Stvenson put together the first skateboard exhibition team in 1963 with Bruce Logan, Woody Woodward, Danny Bearer, Scott Archer, Gregg Carroll, John Fries, Joey Saenz, George Trafton jr, and Squeek Blank. The second generation Makaha team of Ty Page, Bruce Logan, Rusty Henderson, Mike Purpus and Torger Johnson was put together to promote the invention that changed skateboarding forever...the kicktail and double kicktail board.

After Makaha, Bruce Logan started manufacturing his own skateboards, with his brother Brad Logan, out of their garage on Cambridge Ave in Cardiff. Logan Earth Ski was born and it became one of the world’s biggest skateboard companies through the 70's. Bruce’s name on a skateboard sold more skateboards than anyone’s. Thanks to Logan Earth Ski, Bruce traveled extensively competing in international contests, winning dozens of world champion titles, including the first trophy ever given for Skateboarding world champion. One of the last titles he won was against a cocky new comer by the name of Tony Hawks, the third winnerof the IASC survey.

Bruce’s quick rise to fame and wealth brought with it a constant exposure to parties and cocaine, to which he eventually lost his good fortune, as did so many others in the 1970's and 1980's professional skate and surf community (Jay Adams, Christian Hosoi...). The 1975-76 World Champion Bruce Logan went from being the highest paid and most famous skateboarder in the world in the mid 70’s to a homeless street junkie. By the mid 80s Bruce’s life would be lost in 30 years of mornings after and homeless desperation.

After becoming no more than a bad rumor, Bruce rose again, clean and sober, displaying a new attitude. The lost years were as hard on him as he was on himself, and now he never hesitates in firing warning shots to those planning on following in his footsteps along with a steadying hand. Bruce has definitely made a comeback, with the backing of the skateboarding community who recognizes and respects the contributions that he made to what is now a multi million dollar industry that might not exist today if it wasn't for him. He is currently sponsoring 3 skateboard models that are being manufactured and distributed for Logan Earth Ski by Gravity Skateboards of San Marcos Ca.

A movie has been released in 2008, crafted in part about Bruce's rise and fall due to the cocaine: D.O.P.E (Death or Prison Eventually).

Today Bruce Logan is clean and sober (as Jay Adams and Christian Hosoi are) and attempting to reestablish his skateboarding business, Logan Earth Ski, which was once one of the largest in the world.

DOB: June 13, 1951
HOME TOWN: Hermosa Beach CA
INFLUENCES: Torger Johnson, Woody Woodworth & The Hilton Brothers
FAVORITE TRICK: The Highspeed, 40mph Nose Wheelie.
FAVORITE SPOTS: Escondido Reservoir, Del Mar Skate Ranch, Paul Revere, Bellagio, Palisades High & The LA Toilet Bowl

The 70’s: Tony Alva

"Tony Alva was born in 1957, in Santa Monica California. In 1968, Alva got his first surfboard and skateboard and developed a passion for surfing, skateboarding and rock-n-roll. In 1972, he joined the legendary Z-Boys skateboard team along with Jay Adams and Stacy Peralta. Alva later went on to win the Men’s World Overall Professional Skateboard Championship in 1977.

In the 1980s, Tony formed the infamous "Alva Posse" and sponsors innovative skaters including: Christian Hosoi, Ray Barbee, Mark Gonzalez, Dave Duncan, Eddie Reategui, Chris Cook, John Thomas, Jeff Hartsel, Craig Johnson, John Gibson, Bill Danforth, Fred Smith III, and Jim Murphy.

In 1999, he was presented the X Games Life Time Achievement Award from Tony Hawk, and in 2000, he received the Legend Award from Transworld Skateboard Magazine.

Recently he was featured in the Sundance and Independent Spirit award-winning documentary “Dogtown and Z-Boys” (2002). Tony Alva was an authenticity consultant and stunt coordinator on the upcoming Sony feature film, "Lords Of Dogtown" (2005), based on his life with the Z-Boys.
The first skateboarder to successfully market himself as a brand name, Tony Alva continues to own and operate the innovative Alva Skateboard Company in Oceanside, California. Considered the originator of vertical skateboarding, Alva continues to develop new technology to advance the sport he loves. Staying true to his roots, Tony Alva surfs and skates pools almost everyday.

Alva has been featured on several book covers including: Declaration of Independents, Dogtown, The Legend of the Z-Boys and The Freshjive Maddog Chronicles. He has also been profiled in several international publications including: Skateboarder, Transworld, People, Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, Spin, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Visionaire, Arena, I-D etc.

According to his longtime friend Stacy Peralta, whith whom he was once part of the Z-Boys, the infamous team put together by Skip Engeblom, "Today, Tony still sneaks into unsuspecting people’s backyards to taste the illicit thrill of riding an empty pool."

Actually, not only Tony skates everyday, but he still enjoys being on tour to sell his Alva brand.

The 80’s: Tony Hawk

According to an old Newsweek magazine, Tony Hawk is the "most famous skateboarder ever." A big claim, but with a lot to support it: it was him that, in the 80s and 1990s, almost single-handedly transformed skateboarding from a kids' parking-lot pastime into a respected sport. He won virtually every skateboarding competition he entered, and before he was twenty, he was considered to be the number one vertical skateboarder in the world.

Tony Hawk was born in San Diego, California. He started skate when his older brother bought him a a blue fiberglass hand-me-down skateboard at the age of 8 and shortly after, his father constructed a ramp in their backyard.

At the age of 11, he won his first contest win and turned pro by the age of 14. Before he graduated from his Torrey Pines High School in 1986, Hawk was earning $100,000 a year from skating in competitions, making public appearances, and endorsing products such as Mountain Dew. By age fourteen Tony Hawk had turned professional, joining the Powell Peralta skateboard team called the Bones Brigade. By age sixteen he was dominating the sport. In 1990 he and fellow skateboarder Per Welinder launched Birdhouse Projects, a company to manufacture skateboards and skate accessories. In 1992 Birdhouse was followed by Blitz, which distributed other skateboard brands.
Known as the Birdman because of his high-flying acrobatics, on April 27, 1999, on his 12th attempt, he was the first skater ever to land a 900. In 1999, Hawk ventured into what would become his most lucrative enterprise—video games. He had been trying to interest companies in a skateboarding game since the mid-1990s, but executives did not bite. Finally Activision, approached Hawk in September of 1998 about developing a video game. Computer engineers mocked up a working version and Hawk tinkered with it for months, providing feedback and offering suggestions for improvement. When Tony Hawk's Pro Skater was introduced in the fall of 1999, it created an immediate buzz. By Christmas it had zoomed to the top of the video sales charts.

In 2004 Activison released the fourth version of Pro Skater and added Tony Hawk's Underground to its catalog of games. Each game sold better than the last, and the Hawk series became one of the bestselling video lines of all time, with worldwide yearly sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars. Eager to cash in on Hawk's obvious appeal, more businesses lined up to strike deals. In 2000 the skate-boarder became the spokesman for Hot Bites frozen snack foods. Hawk went on to lend his name to a slew of products, including toys, shoes, clothing, and DVDs. His most recent endorsement deals, which were reportedly worth over $1 million each, included McDonald's, Hershey's chocolate milk, and Frito Lay snacks. According to Jake Phelps, editor of Thrasher magazine (a skateboard magazine), who spoke with Layden, "Tony Hawk means ka-ching."

In 2002, Tony Hawk started Boom Boom Huck Jam, an annual event that combines rock music and extreme sports, such as motorcross, skateboarding, and BMX with a show in Las Vegas.

Film & television appearances
In 1987, Tony Hawk appeared in the film Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol as one of the teenage skateboarders. In 1989, he appeared as a skateboarder in Gleaming The Cube. In 2002, he appeared in Neal H. Moritzs' film xXx, playing the role of one of Xander Cages stuntman friends, and later in the movie, a skateboarder at a party. In 2004 he played himself in the Australian skateboarding movie Deck Dogz. In 2006, he appeared in a cameo on the film Drake & Josh Go Hollywood as himself. Hawk has had a cameo in film The New Guy. Hawk appeared in Jackass: The Movie with Matt Hoffman and Bam Margera, skateboarding in a fat suit and Jackass 2, while skateboarding through a obstacle course. He also plays the police officer who arrests Ryan Dunn in the movie Haggard: The Movie. Hawk also made a brief cameo appearance in “Lords Of Dogtown” as an astronaut, where he is shown comically falling off the skateboard as he is a "rookie". He was an extra in the "Weird Al" Yankovic video "Smells like Nirvana".
On television, he also appeared in The Suite Life of Zack & Cody and The Naked Brothers Band. He was a guest on the kid's show on Nickelodeon, Yo Gabba Gabba. He also guest voiced on The Simpsons episode "Barting Over", where he played himself. In the CSI: Miami episode "Game Over" he played a game programmer who was murdered. In 2008, he played on Million Dollar Password. Hawk also played on Fox's Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader?, and his guest appearance in gleaming the cube was a pizza guy. Hawk has also appeared in Mat Hoffman's Pro BMX and Kelly Slater's Pro Surfer as a hidden Rider and Surfer, respectively.

The 90’s: Danny Way

(To be continued)

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posted by Xavier Lannes @ Sunday, October 11, 2009 

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian Logan started logan earth ski, not Bruce, and Brad.

November 30, 2009 at 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of the worst pieces on skateboard history I have ever read.
Tony Hawk not Hawks. It's Zepher Team not Z-Boys and it was not 1972, on and on and on lack of detail and errors. Point- there are ten years in the 70's, be specific, in which year did Logan Earth Ski appear? etc. etc. Frank did a little more than build a ramp in the back yard! Freestyle is alive and well and never died and has great skaters today on the level of the best there ever was. Check out YouTube for God sake.

A skateboarder for 51 years.

December 5, 2009 at 12:10 AM  

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