Skateboard helmet used by Guy 'Grundy' Spagnoli

Description (Brief)
This red, white and blue fiberglass helmet was worn by downhill skateboarder Guy 'Grundy' Spagnoli in 1975. Spagnoli wore this helmet during the first downhill skateboard contest hosted by the United States Skateboard Association on Signal Hill in which he set the first recorded Guinness Book Land Speed Record on a skateboard at 50.2 mph. Hill Street in Signal Hill, California was known for its 30 degree, stomach dropping incline and in 1975, became the perfect place to promote the first downhill skateboard race in the United States. Guy Grundy, a local surfer, was asked by race organizer, Jim O’Mahoney if he wanted to participate in this first race which was to be televised by the ABC television show, “The Guinness Book of World Records”. As a pro surfer Grundy knew this could be a dangerous event so he prepared accordingly, buying race leathers and a helmet. The other racers had shown up in shorts and T-shirts but once they saw the steep hill backed out of the race for fear of injury. The only other contestant fell and dislocated his shoulder leaving Spagnoli to complete his run and enter the history books and the Guinness Book of World Records as the fastest man on a skateboard. Signal Hill would also break ground by allowing women to compete in the downhill competitions and witnessed the advent of the ‘skate-car’. These were gravity defying machines that proved more dangerous than the stand-up downhill boards due to their construction which made them difficult to stop at the speeds that they generated down the steep incline of Signal Hill. The Signal Hill Speed Runs would reign supreme for the next four years before countless wrecks, gruesome injuries and s couple of near death accidents would shut the races down.
Currently not on view
Object Name
helmet, skateboard
Spagnoli, Guy Grundy
Physical Description
fiberglass (overall material)
plastic (overall material)
metal (overall material)
nylon (overall material)
leather (overall material)
overall: 9 1/2 in x 9 in x 11 in; 24.13 cm x 22.86 cm x 27.94 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
Sports & Leisure
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Sport and Leisure
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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