Alumni Public Health

Surfer-scholar rides the wave

Surfer-scholar Logan Weeks, who is studying kinesiology and public health, is the recipient of OSU’s most prestigious merit scholarship.

Logan Weeks
Logan Weeks surfing on the Oregon Coast. Photo: Colton Weeks

Picture a competitive surfer.

Now be honest: You didn’t picture an Oregonian, right? And not the high-achieving recipient of OSU’s most prestigious merit scholarship.

That’s OK. Logan Weeks ’18, didn’t see this wave coming either.

A talented high school wrestler, Logan grew up in the coastal community of Tillamook, but as he put it, “Surfing isn’t something people do here. You don’t really think about surfing in Oregon because it’s freezing.”

Fifty-degree water didn’t stop Logan and his best friend from taking a notion, about four years ago, to learn to surf. Before you could say “hang 10,” they were going out every day, even twice a day — at 5 a.m. before school and again after school. Logan’s parents — OSU graduates Roger Weeks ’88 and Tina Durand Weeks ’90 — and his brothers got hooked, too.

Logan now competes in occasional Pacific Northwest surfing contests throughout the year as a team rider for Moment Surf Company in Pacific City. He also is sponsored by international clothing and surfing equipment company Billabong, which provides the neoprene suit, hood, booties and gloves he wears.

Yet the biggest competition Logan has won to date took place on dry land. He came home from surfing after school to find a letter announcing that he would receive the Larry and Carolyn Giustina Presidential Scholarship: $10,000 per year, for four years. Only 60 incoming OSU freshmen — less than 2 percent — receive Presidential Scholarships.

“I read the letter 20 times. I was shocked I was chosen,” he says. “I always assumed something like that doesn’t happen to kids from Tillamook. “I’m the oldest of five, and this showed my brothers that you really can do anything you set your mind to. If you work hard and be the best person you can be, it does pay off. This scholarship made a huge difference in the confidence I have in myself, and made a world of a difference financially. It’s been such a blessing.”

Logan Weeks
Logan waxes his board for a surf session. Photo: Colton Weeks

Logan works for the Tillamook People’s Utility District every summer, winter and spring break. It’s hard, physical work outside with a busy schedule; he finished his last final exam on a Thursday and started work on Friday.

But almost every summer evening, Logan’s in the water, mostly at Pacific City or Oswald State Park/Short Sands (“Shorty’s” to locals). During the school year he frequently surfs at Devils Punch Bowl north of Newport. Oregon’s surfing community is small, so he’ll usually see someone he knows.

That’s what he enjoys as much as anything: the people. The best moment, he said, isn’t just riding an epic wave all the way to the sand, but turning around and seeing your buddies charge in, too.

A junior kinesiology and public health student, Logan plans to become a physician assistant. At OSU, he said, “I’m learning about things I’m passionate about and find really interesting. I’m excited to have a job where I get to help people and promote healthy behavior. Just having the opportunity to learn from professors who are some of the best in their fields is really awesome.”

He’s enjoying school, but college can be stressful, too. Plunge into the Pacific, and the only thing you’ll think about — well, frankly, is how cold it is. For Logan, “It’s a retreat from everything else. You’re just focused on what you’re doing right that second.”

Then there are times like one evening this July, when suddenly whales were spouting – that close.

“I always want to live near the ocean.”

This story appeared in the Fall 2016 Oregon Stater magazine.