For this next spotlight, we venture to America's Third Coast, to a small beach town on the shores of Michigan to catch up with Great Lakes surfer, musician, photographer, and all around good human, Logan Vegh. When someone thinks of the Midwest, they don't typically think of a vibrant surf community, but it's there and thriving. It was a pleasure catching up with Logan and we hope you enjoy this glimpse into the Michigan surf community.
Hi! My name is Logan Vegh, I’m from Grand Haven Michigan, and I’m 19 years old!
Q. What got you into surfing and where’s your favorite spot to go?
Logan - I got my first skateboard at four years old. My dad in the 80s had his share of time pushing around the street, got to meet Tony Hawk, scare his parents with the scene, etc. I had a knack for balance and hand-eye when I was little, so I was told. Christmas came in 2007, and I fell in love with gliding. Riding sideways is cool. I’ve always had a skate in my car. The feeling of bombing a hill, power sliding, or dropping in is addicting!
By 2020 I realized I lived in “surf city” of the Great Lakes. I saw the wave break five minutes down the road. I watched the guys from the skate park out sliding across walls of water. I thought to myself, “I’m missing out!”
I got a board in January 2021, paddled out in 36-degree water, ate crap, had snot icicles, and never loved anything more! The rest is history.
My favorite spot is right down the road. It’s called “The Rock Pile”. “Pile” for short. It bounces off the Grand Haven pier when the swell is just right. It’s my home. It can be an onshore mushed-out grovel wave, a massive death drop with speed you wouldn’t believe, glassed-off walls to rip, or even a two-foot log wave where cross steps are the rule. We run down the pier as the sets come in, drop dangerously close to the wall, make fun of all the tourists looking at us as if we’re the silly ones, and have the best memories of autumn days when Pile breaks.
Q. Tell us a little about the Michigan surf culture.
Logan - It’s special. My small town of Grand Haven is home to 15-20 real, true, authentic surfers. It’s the definition of core. Icebergs float in the winter lineups, pee in the wetsuit is a sweet relief of warmth, and brotherhood is strong. There’s much I could say to that last part. But to keep it brief, if I see someone surf well at our home breaks or any other lake wave I travel to in the Midwest, they have my utmost respect. It’s dedication, love, commitment, and passion to the highest echelon.
Q. What does community mean to you and how has surfing shaped your community?
Logan - As mentioned before, it’s strong around here. My first board was a little mid-length thing, nothing special. The story of how I acquired the board, however, is. Once I found out how blind I was to the quality of waves here in Grand Haven, I began my diligent research for a board as we all do. I listened to a podcast about a guy from my hometown who grew up surfing Lake Michigan in the 60s. The dude is rad, let me tell you. I found his Facebook Messenger profile and reached out to see if he had any leads on a sound board — LARRY OFFERED TO PAY FOR HALF OF MY BOARD. His name is Larry, by the way. Out of the kindness of his heart, he invested in a 17-year-old loser who had never surfed. As I’ve grown to know him more, I’ve seen his passion for the water combine a “Midwest Kind” with a “humble absolute core surf lord” persona, resulting in my view of him as a role model. I love this story, one because I got a board (dope), but mainly because it shows the community I’m lucky enough to be a part of.
Yes, we have the local guy that thinks he’s hot stuff and gives glaring looks when anyone new pulls up to the beach. I’m guilty of wanting to surf alone and keep these places protected too. But overall, we care for each other.
I’m blessed to be associated closely with Addicott Surf. He’s taken me under his wing, shaped my boards, asked me to demo his models, taught me to noseride better, given me in-depth insight on fin design, and most importantly been a great friend. That’s what it’s all about here.
(Me pretending I know how to shape, all the while Ryan is just teaching me to hold the planer. Here are a few of my boards shaped by Ryan Addicott!)
Q. What’s different about surfing in a lake rather than an ocean? Do you prefer one over the other?
Logan - No salt is trippy. I just got home from a few months out west surfing the Pacific every day. I jumped off the pier at Pile and just about forgot who I was as I tasted the fresh water. The waves are different too. Primarily an onshore sloppy mess. But, those days come around when there’s a groundswell from miles out in the deep lake. The wind can turn off. Glassy sessions are the tales we tell — Oh, and on a serious note, the cold sucks. 6mm wetsuits, 8mm booties, cars heating to the max in the parking lot just to feel our fingers, etc. That’s one thing I am not as fond of. It’s therapeutic and beautiful to be out in the wild cold, for sure! But the one thing I miss when not in the Southern California ocean is the warmth. Overall, I like surfing at home. I’d love it if I could pull up to a spot, hang toes at San O or Cardiff, pump down a fast line at OB Jetty, or share a world-class right at Malibu with five hundred of my best friends in the lineup (I’m kidding on that last one, I hope you know that)...
But home is home. Nothing compares. We get to surf alone quite often, we see fall colors on the trees, snow downpours while surfing, the water feels cleaner (I have no clue if it is), and I love driving five minutes down a lonely country road back to my house. That freeway in San Diego is the worst dude!
(More photographs of me on Lake Michigan slides. Shot by Lisa Walters and Tracen Johnson.)
Q. How does going for a surf affect your mood and mindset for the rest of the day?
Logan - It’s everything. Sunrise gliding is something I cherish deeply. I can’t explain it, but that drive away from the beach after catching some speed while it’s only 8 AM is a graceful thing. I think surfers have it better than most.
Q. Outside of surfing do you have any other hobbies or passions that keep you
Logan - In terms of grounded, I’m a follower of Jesus! He’s a radical guy. You should try it too.
Other passions of mine are all related to art. I create music, photographs, and films. I love how surfing connects to all of these. Just look up Logan Vegh on YouTube. I released an album under my music name “Clay Banks” (Clay Banks is a little campground on the beach here in Michigan I like to camp at for surf and time in solitude). The album is accompanied by a surf film I made. On a separate note, I just finished the final draft of my second full-length surf film this morning actually! I also take water photographs! So fun to swim out with fins and a camera rather than surf sometimes. Surprising, right? WHEW... Shameless plug over, yuck! Creativity means a lot to me. Sometimes it’s simply doodling in my pocketbook.
(Making some tunes in the bedroom studio. Some water photographs I took!)
Q. What advice do you have for someone who wants to go lake surfing?
Logan - Have fun! I still struggle with taking it too seriously. Caring about what people think on the beach as you sit in a soupy windy chaotic mess is an easy trap to fall into. Lineup pressures, skill deficits, board insecurity, and a lack of appreciation for the beauty around us are common problems I believe all surfers deal with. Hear me out, though...Aren’t we doing this to have fun?
Remove the boundaries. Remember we all suck. Remember there will always be a nine-year-old better than you at something — Just get outside. Maybe even learn how to slide across a wave! Maybe on a lake!
Check out Logan's music and some of his other creative works here.