Taking place annually from 1975 to 1978, the Signal Hill Speed Run was the world’s first downhill skateboard race and the world’s most dangerous. Racers pointed their boards down the nearly 30 degree incline in Southern California before throwing self-preservation out the window and attempting to make it from top to bottom without injury.
Filmmakers and friends Mike Horelick and Jon Carnoy grew up together in the San Francisco Bay Area where, like most other kids, they grew up skateboarding.
After Mike wrote an article for the LA Times, “Board Out of Their Minds,” the story of the Signal Hill Speed Run, the two decided to combine their talents to create a documentary about the world’s first skateboard race.
They knew this was the story that needed to be told. The world’s first skateboard race, the world’s first street luge race, the world’s first women’s skateboard race, and many more firsts, this was not an everyday event.
Their first bit of good luck – The City of Signal Hill joined with the filmmakers and helped finance the film as well as locate historical photos. More good luck – Grammy winner Ben Harper joined as a narrator of the documentary film. Mr. Harper is not only a wonderful musician and humanitarian, he is also an excellent skateboarder!
The Signal Hill Speed Run is a collaboration of hundreds of people. Racers, photographers, editors, crew members, and interviewees all came together to help in one way or another on this historic project.
This feature-length documentary follows the rise and fall of this amazing contest that lead to the birth of modern extreme sports.
Length: 90 mins
Mike has combined his love for film and youth culture with the documentary “The Signal Hill Speed Run.” After completing film school at USC, Mike has pursued several projects with a California youth angle. He wrote a book on California culture titled “How to Talk Like a California Dude” and restarted Tunnel Skateboards, a classic skateboard brand, with co-director Jon Carnoy. Mike lives in Santa Monica and is lucky enough to skateboard to work.
Based in Paris, France, where he directs commercials and television, including MTV’s “Real World Paris.” Together with Mike Horelick, he created a skateboard television series, “Ben et Thomas,” for French Television. Jon hasn’t forgotten his California roots, as evidenced in the commitment to the feature project “The Signal Hill Speed Run.”