Robin Logan was raised in Hermosa Beach, California by her mom Barbara along with three older brothers. She watched Brian, Bruce and Brad surf and skate everyday, and at four-years old Bruce set her up on a skateboard. Robin shared in Skateboarder that, “When I was seven, we would do demos in department stores… Bruce and Ty (Page) would skate through the stores to attract people; Brad and I would have kickturn races for the people already standing and watching.” And, even at that age, in the mid 1960s, she was jumping off curbs and over 2-ft crossbars.
According to her Skateboard Hall of Fame bio, Robin spent “her childhood skating the schoolyards of Pier Avenue Junior High, Paul Revere, Bellagio and the Miracle Mile in Palos Verdes before moving to Encinitas in ’73 and discovering the hills of La Costa with her brothers.”
Bruce was especially active in competitions, which motivated the family to start the Logan Earth Ski skateboard business, and they sponsored some of the top skaters throughout the 1970s. As a result, the Logan’s are considered the “First Family of Skateboarding” and Robin was a big part of their success.
Robin entered her first contest in April 1975, which was the Bahne-Cadillac National Championships held at the Del Mar Ocean Festival, where she placed 2nd behind Peggy Oki. That same year, a photo of Robin appeared in the Summer 1975 issue of Skateboarder magazine doing a high jump (Vol. 2, No. 1).
In a crucial essay for Skateboarder magazine (August 1976) called “Let’s Hear it for the Ladies” by Cindy Berryman, Robin is acknowledged for her confident bowl riding. “She is fast, sure-footed, and innovative; and ventures onto heights of the bowl that less competent riders should not attempt.”
In an interview with Larry Balma of Tracker trucks, Robin explained that when she landed her first kickflip and a “two-boarded kickflip” that, “There were no other girls out there flipping boards around like I was,” which suggests she was the first female to land a kickflip, and there’s photos to prove it.
Skateboarding with her brothers and their friends meant that Robin didn’t shy away from an unusual opportunity. In 1977 SKAbo, in association with CBS TV’s launched a program pitting two skateboarders against each other. Robin went up against Ernie Martin, who held a Guinness World Record, and ended up beating him!
Di Dootson, Editor of the National Skateboard Review was one of the judges for “Challenge of the Sexes” and in the February 1978 issue it was shared that the competition structure was tied to “the modern Olympic Decathlon. The best overall performance was judged by the individual competitors’ skill in each event… competitors competed, not only against each other, but also against themselves and world records.”
An East Coast magazine called Skate Rider out of Florida featured Robin in competition in their Fall 1977 (Chuy) and Summer 1978 issues (Battipaglia & Burgmeier). There’s not much detail about the contests, but it looks like she is ripping!
In the July 1978 issue of Skateboarder, Robin’s sponsor ACS trucks proudly announces her victory that states “Girls get radical too… on ACS trucks”! She was also included in an ad within the May 1978 issue of Wild World of Skateboarding.
In the April 1977 issue of Skateboarder magazine, a collaborative article called the “Freestyle Symposium” included conversation with some of the leading skateboarders of the time, including Robin. She shared that, “When you grow up with three brothers, and you see them hop on a board and start kickturning around and having a blast, before you know it—you’re trying it too.” In response to her favourite tricks she said, “I like to do kick-flips, pirouettes and the high jump, because to me, they are the greatest challenge.” And, Robin was excited to see music introduced to Freestyle routines… her favourite was Rod Stewart and Stevie Wonder!
A few months later, for the June 1977 issue of Skateboarder, Robin was featured in a “Who’s Hot” article, by Brian Gillogly when she was eighteen. She was admired for her quick, smooth footwork in her routines with “Walk-the-dog variations, toe spins, pirouettes and kick flips (reportedly, she was the first female to master this maneuver)… ‘Backward wheelies and space walking,’ she confides, ‘are my hardest tricks.’”
Robin acknowledged that women add aesthetics and camaraderie to competition, and she was a big fan of the bank and bowl riding performed by Kim Cespedes. She was also pushing her own limits by regularly taking part in giant slalom races at La Costa and taking on transition riding.
The skateboarding life treated Robin well. She was on the cover of the August 1977 issue of the National Skateboard Review (Vol. 2, No. 5). And, she was interviewed for the October 1977 issue of Skateboard World in Pro File. In regard to the previous year’s Long Beach World Professional Championships, Robin shared that “All the girls competing got along fine. We don’t hold any grudges. Win or lose, I don’t really care. As long as I can be proud of my performance. First or seventh, it just doesn’t matter. I always try to keep that in my head.”
Robin toured the U.S. in the Skateboard Expo traveling show in 1977-1978 along with her brothers Bruce and Brad. In her Pro File, Robin shared how much she loved the Skateboard Expo. “I’m the only girl who high jumps in the show and the crowd goes crazy. They really root for me to win. The show runs about two hours and I love all of it. I really like riding with my brothers… I admit I like being known, but I’m not in it for the money. I love when kids ask for autographs. The kids all over the country are really great.”
Robin also took part in advertisements like Pepsi and movies like Skateboard: the Movie (1978), and traveled internationally as a skateboarding Ambassador. When she was in England, Robin was interviewed for the UK magazine Skateboard Scene (No. 6 1978) within the legendary “Kate the Skate” column. Robin stated that, “I’m trying to promote more women in the sport. There’s lots of girls who hand around, you know, looking good and all that… but looking good in your gear and going out and really doing it is a very different thing.” Robin again reminded her readers of how Kim Cespedes was a really aggressive skater and would put the guys to shame – “they’ll get out of the pool to let her ride.” She also shared her prediction that skateboarding would become an Olympic sport before surfing.
Robin was asked about her signature board, the Robin Logan Earth Ski model, and she replied, “It was designed for me by Bobby Piercy. It’s a 29″ 7-ply lamination duralight with a rounded nose and an oval shaped kick tail.” The board was re-released in 2013 and catalogued into the Smithsonian Institute.
Robin was an obvious choice for the Skateboard Hall of Fame, inducted in 2015 and received great encouragement from her peers. The kindest compliment came from fellow skateboarder Laura Thornhill, who described her as the “best teammate anyone could have… like a sister.” And while Robin is often referred to as “the sister” of Brian, Bruce and Brad, she really did hold her own as a ground-breaking skater and made that transition from Freestyle to Pool, evolving with the times.
The colour photos above by Jim Goodrich were taken at Del Mar in February 1979 for an AstroTune advertisement, an early “Walk Man” portable music player. Very cool.
Photos: Barbara Logan, Dan Devine, Jim Goodrich, Jon Malvino, Warren Bolster, Chuy, Battipaglia, Burgmeier
Select Contest Results:
- 1975 April 26 & 27 – 2nd place in Women’s Freestyle at the Bahne-Cadillac National Championships held at the Del Mar Ocean Festival behind Peggy Oki.
- 1976 February – 3rd place in Junior Women’s Freestyle and 4th in Slalom at the 2nd Annual Ventura Skateboard Championships.
- 1976 May 22 & 23 – 2nd place in Women’s Freestyle at the Northern California Skateboard Championships at Cow Palace in San Francisco.
- 1976 August 1st – 1st place in Women’s Giant Slalom at La Costa.
- 1976 September – 3rd place in Women’s Slalom, 5th in Freestyle at the California Free Former World Pro Championships at the Long Beach Arena, CA.
- 1976 September – 2nd in Bowls Freestyle, 5th in Slalom at the 2nd Annual Hang Ten Pro at Carlsbad Skatepark.
- 1978 March – 2nd place in Pro Women’s Banked Slalom at the Kona Skatepark Pro-Am in Jacksonville, Florida.
- 1978 June 24-25 – 2nd place in Women’s Freestyle at the 2nd Annual Oceanside Pro Freestyle contest at Oceanside.
- Balma, Larry. “The Logan Family, First Family of Skateboarding.” Tracker. September 5, 2016.
- Berryman, Cindy. “Let’s hear it for the ladies.” Skateboarder Magazine. August 1976, pp. 58-63.
- Dootson, Di. “SKAbo Directs CBS Challenge of the Sexes.” National Skateboard Review. February 1978, p. 3.
- Gillogly, Brian. “Who’s Hot: Robin Logan.” Skateboarder. June 1977, pp. 85-85.
- Mahony, Kate. “Kate the Skate meets Robin Logan.” Skateboard Scene (No. 6), 1978.
- Skateboard Hall of Fame. “Robin Logan.” 2015.
- Skateboard World. “Pro File: Robin Logan skates into her own spotlight.” October 1977, pp. 66-69.