It was fate.
Coast Guard Master Chief Scott Harris and his family were transferred to Hawaii when his daughter, Logan, was just 3-years old. Barely a year later she decided she wanted to try surfing.
Now 10, Logan is making a splash on both sides of the United States on her shortboard, placing in competitions in Hawaii as well as the East Coast.
The family was fortunate enough to live in Hawaii for five years, but two years ago Scott was transferred to Elizabeth City. Since then, Logan and her mother, Dawn, have split their time between the two places, spending the summer and the first part of the school year in North Carolina, going back to Hawaii around Christmastime.
With schools using common core standards, she doesn’t repeat or miss a lot of information when switching between schools, Dawn said.
The schedule also works out well for surfing – the North Shore in Hawaii is flat in the
summertime, Logan said. So she surfs the Outer Banks in the summer instead, and Hawaii in the winter.
The Outer Banks are “a great surf spot, probably the best on the East Coast,” said Scott. “Being able to surf in Hawaii in the winter and the Outer Banks in the summer, it’s pretty awesome.”
Of course, not everything is ideal. With Scott in North Carolina year-round, he misses “a lot of moments in Logan’s life,” but tries to visit Hawaii every six weeks while Logan and Dawn are there.
“I think anybody who 'geobachelors’ (a term for families who live separately from their active duty spouses), 90 percent of the time it’s for the children to be able to follow their dreams. She lives to surf. That’s what she wants to do. We are going to do what we can until I retire so she can pursue that. The Coast Guard is what allows us to be able to do it.”
Scott has 28 years in the Coast Guard already, so retirement is not too far away. The family plans to retire, of course, to Hawaii.
“We may not be rich, but we live a rich life in Hawaii,” Scott said.
But in the meantime, Logan seems to have the best of both worlds.
In Hawaii, her schedule is, “surf, school, homework, surf,” she said. Many days, Logan and her friends get up around 5 a.m. for a morning surf session, or “dawn patrol,” as it’s called. After school, she goes again.
“On the weekends, I surf all day.”
She also enjoys snorkeling and carve boarding, which is like skateboarding but with a longer board, she said.
But Logan has other hobbies here in North Carolina.
“I like it here,” she said. She enjoys the cold weather, and the woods.
“There are no woods in Hawaii,” she said. “I like exploring here. I’m not afraid of snakes.”
And she still spends time on the water. Besides surfing Logan enjoys wakeboarding, wake skating (almost like skateboarding) and wake surfing behind the family boat.
“We don’t have a boat in Hawaii,” Scott said.
For “bigger waves” when surfing, though, she likes Hawaii.
As for the waves on the Outer Banks, Logan says they are different here.
“Here, the water is everywhere. Because there is reef in Hawaii, it breaks in the same spot.”
Her biggest wave so far was a 5-foot Hawaiian wave, which measures to a 10-foot wave anywhere else. In Hawaii, the back of the wave is measured, which is only half the height of the front of the wave. Here, the front of the wave is measured, Scott said.
Even her training schedule is different. In Hawaii, Logan trains with professional surfers Myles Padaca and Pancho Sullivan. In North Carolina, she trains a lot of her time in the gym, doing parkour and victus, which is “kind of like Crossfit,” Logan said. Her time in the gym is to help her balance and coordination, and to strengthen her core and arms. Of course, she still heads to the beach whenever possible.
At a recent competition in Virginia Beach, the East Coast Surf Championships, Logan placed fifth overall in her age group, which consists of both boys and girls.
“If she keeps doing what she’s doing, maybe the next couple of years, sponsors will come,” Scott said.
She’s already got a couple – Duck Village Outfitters, Luli Luli and Scarfini Fins.
She’s got some great swimming partners, too. Between the two oceans, Logan has been surfing with turtles, monk seals, sharks and even a manatee.
“I surfed with a sea cucumber on my board for hours,” she said.
She has some high-name mentors, too.
“She’s been fortunate to be surrounded by good, high-level surfers,” says Scott.
“My biggest mentor is Mick Fanning, three-time world champion,” Logan said. And she’s surfed with lots more.
“There are famous surfers in North Shore all the time,” she said.
Seeing the professionals has inspired Logan to set some goals of her own.
“I want to be a professional surfer,” Logan said. “I want to win the Women’s World Cup.”