John Hutson Signal Hill 1977. Photo by Glen E. Friedman

John Hutson

John Hutson – 2021 Skateboarding Hall of Fame Inductee

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Widely known as the top downhill racer of the 1970s, John Hutson won 11 out of 14 races in 1978 alone, taking second place in two, and third in the other! John was also famous for the Hut Tuck, a stance he employed to achieve maximum velocity during downhill runs that was influenced by the arms back posture of Mike Goldman. For slalom, John could usually be found riding a Santa Cruz deck made of maple, epoxy, fiberglass, and graphite with Bennett Pros or Tracker Haftracks trucks and Road Rider wheels. Speaking of slalom, John considered giant slalom the only real and challenging slalom, and enjoyed it more when the course included banks, bowls, bumps and moguls. For downhill, John used bigger wheels, tighter trucks, and a maximum deck length of 36”. He also enjoyed downhill courses with turns, like Aspen. In addition to downhill and slalom, John enjoyed skating banks and pools for fun.
Born on December 23, 1953 in San Jose  California, John began skateboarding in the summer of 1964 with the kids on his block in Santa Clara. His first skateboard was a 2”x4” with metal roller skates nailed to the bottom. Not long after, he progressed to thick homemade decks with hand-painted racing stripes, running slalom courses outfitted with paint cans for cones. After high school, John moved over to Santa Cruz to surf and skate more. Turning pro in the fall of 1975, John’s first and only sponsors were Santa Cruz and Road Rider. Riding pro until 1996 or ’97; his last race was in the hills above Temecula.
In the ’70s, John made a splash on the big screen, starring in a documentary film about the 1978 Signal Hill downhill race; his TV appearances included a downhill race held at Derby Downs, the soap box derby track in Cleveland, Ohio, which was covered by CBS; and another on the island of Catalina, which appeared on ABC’s Wide World of Sports. In addition to all of his race victories in 1978, John was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for achieving the fastest speed standing on a skateboard at 53.45 mph. John could usually be found riding with Mike Goldman and Cliff Coleman. Around 2010, after taking a bad slam that resulted in six fractured ribs and one broken rib that punctured his right lung, John permanently relegated his skateboard to the laundry room closet. Today, John enjoys fly fishing and alpine hard boot snowboarding. He is totally retired except for maintaining his vacation home in Hood River, Oregon and his main residence in Santa Cruz.

4 thoughts on “John Hutson”

  1. A true hero in skating and to me. He tore up downhill and slalom courses like no one else! A great and funny guy and has a well-deserved place in our Hall of Fame!

  2. Determined! The rest of us raced for second. We measured our success by whether we ever beat John, or by how many times.
    I only placed ahead of John once in Downhill and once in Giant Slalom.
    John is a wonderful friend and was a great teammate for Santa Cruz Skateboards.

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