In truth, surfing never loved Erik Logan.
Some men are content with their own patch of dirt, watching a few meagre seeds of a lifetime’s hard work flourish around them. Content to live in peace, even if that means being forgotten or unremembered.
Erik “ELo” Logan was not one of these men.
For Erik, no dream was too big.
He’d grown up in a fine neighbourhood in Oklahoma City, where sometimes tornadoes would whip up dust clouds so fierce young Erik’s tears would roll onto his chin like little soft balls. When Erik wasn’t crying, which wasn’t often, he enjoyed dressing his Action Men up in tuxedos with no pants, and pulling the legs from daddy long legs.
Relentlessly driven by the tough love of all the strong women in his life, Logan developed a catty confidence that was to see him have early success in showbusiness. First, as Chuck The Duck, then later, Cody The Coyote, where duties included singing country music songs and sucking golfballs though gardenhoses.
Adopting other identities suited Logan, and he worked his way up the sticky corporate ladder. Soon, dalliances with Oprah Winfrey led to an ego which had become swollen like the bulbous purple head of a little bullfrog, and this, eventually, would lead to his demise.
In January 2020, the mysterious billionaire Dirk Ziff, appointed him as CEO of the World Surf League. Logan stroked out on his own into the shark infested waters of professional surfing with a wetsuit made of armour and some clean, shiny Vans, falling head over heels for surfing.
Here was where he could make his name! Because all the surfers would just be like yeah brah and whatever. What could they possibly know of the clever showbiz tricks and fruity wordplay he would use to control them?
And yes! He could be a surfer! Why not? If Johnny Utah could do it, so could he. He’d be dirty dancing with Swayze lookalikes before he knew it, leading them a merry jig.
His dream was set.
In the early days, Logan could often be seen with his personal Instagram photographer, doggy styling on a SUP. He preferred double Vs to shakas, but was not afraid to use both. The early signs were not promising. The sharks began to circle.
In truth, surfing never loved him. The waters were too muddy, too full of wizened old creatures either entirely disinterested in his presence, or quick to tear him from arsehole to nipple with the ease with which one might draw a paring knife across the skin of a peach.
He changed his look for surfing, adopting a cultivated rugged appearance, like a man with fewer worries. A man who could executive produce mediocre TV shows like Ultimate Surfer and Make Or Break one minute, but wear a t-shirt with the chest tattoos of his star athletes the next. He was not afraid to instruct his athletes to remove their shirts. He was the boss after all.
View this post on Instagram
He touched foreheads with Jack Robinson in Hawaii, showing how connected he was to indigenous cultures. He was even thinking of getting himself an outrigger. And he insisted Dave Prodan called him uncle (which he was only too happy to do).
Logan was fond of the passive-aggressive open letter as a medium of communication. He penned two significant letters of pointed prose during his tenure.
The first was a response to a group of surfing professionals who had filed a petition against the Mid Year Cut, a new-old format change for the WCT that saw poorly performing, browbeaten surfers axed halfway through the season. This letter castigated the surfers as if they were silly little children who should be seen and not heard (preferably with tops off).
Letter number two again responded to disgruntled Tour professionals, this time a contingent of World Champions in Filipe Toledo, Gabriel Medina and Italo Ferreira, surfers from a nation whose fanbase might not be Logan’s preferred flavour, being mostly not rich and white, but who have almost single-handedly propped up the World Surf League during his tenure.
Again, this letter had “a tone that lies somewhere between a dictator and a domestic abuser”, according to one chronicler of surfing on minor surf blog, BeachGrit.
Erik Logan did have one bright spot early in his career, the first and only time he would engage with surfing’s gutter press. Logan manhandled BeachGrit’s Charlie Smith in a podcast debate, skipping jauntily around Smith’s ill-prepared questions and aiming sharp little kicks to his ribs in a neat little jig of corporate verbiage. Not since the heady days of Goggans vs Smith had the latter been taken so roughly.
Indeed, Logan’s speciality was to deliver lashings and lashings of mushy corporate word salad. He was particularly adroit at window-dressing bare-faced lies, flubbing numbers, and wielding amorphous statistical evidence, leading many to believe that professional surfing was a runaway success under his watch.
But for a man who valued drama and narrative above all else, he suffered an ungracious, flat ending. No drama, no narrative, Merely disappeared mid-event to the tune of a rudimentary press release. A vaporisation perhaps befitting a man who ran the WSL in a manner not inaccurately compared to Stalinist Russia.
Logan’s Instagram states he is still “living life one wave at a time”.
As an arbiter of surf competition and storytelling, that wave is a closeout in perpetuity.
“No competitive pursuit boasts
counter-culture roots cunts as strong as like surfing.” Sydney Morning Herald profile on Logan from March 2023: The Former Oprah Exec Bringing Soap Opera To Surfing