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Henry Hester, aka Bad H, started skateboarding in 1959 on a homemade board with steel wheels. Over the next four decades, he would go on to win multiple titles as world slalom champion, and become one of the fastest and best-known downhill racers of all time, in addition to founding the first-ever pool riding contests, the Hester Series, and running some of the industry’s biggest brands. After making his start on steel wheels, Hester graduated to clay in 1964 and rode for the Ritzie’s Skateboard Club with George Taylor and Pete Philan. By the mid ’70s, he essentially pioneered modern slalom racing on the legendary hills of La Costa, California–probably winning more races than anyone at the famous Sunday afternoon battles–and he became one of the first skaters to have a pro model deck, the Henry Hester Slalom Series deck by G&S.
In ’76, Henry also became one of the first to have a pro model wheel when Road Rider released the Henry Hester slalom wheel. That same year, Hester would become the world slalom champion–narrowly beating out Tony Alva by one-tenth of a second in their head-to-head duel in the finals at the Hang Ten World Championships at Carlsbad Skatepark, which was broadcast live on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. In ’77, Hester would release a second pro model skateboard–the Henry Hester H-Bomb slalom deck–with Santa Cruz, and become the back-to-back world slalom champion, this time with first place at the Free Former World Championships at Derby Downs in Akron, Ohio (televised by CBS Sports Spectacular). Also in ’77, he tied for first place in the notorious skate car division at Signal Hill, clocking in at 57 mph while earning second place in ’78 at the same event with a top speed of 59.27 mph.