Skate and Snowboard pioneer Tom Sims Dies
Tom Sims, pioneering skateboarder and snowboarder, died from cardiac arrest Wednesday night at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital, near his home in California, according to a statement released by Sims Snowboards on Thursday.
“Tom’s accomplishments speak for themselves,” read a statement from Sims Snowboards, the company he founded. “A true pioneer, Tom brought forward thinking concepts and innovations that forever changed the landscape of the snow and skate industry. His constant quest for the deepest powder, the longest downhill road and the smoothest wave has been and always will be an inspiration to us all.”
Sims is frequently credited with inventing the first modern snowboard. The “Skiboard” prototype he built in his seventh grade wood shop class in 1963 is currently on display at the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Museum in Vail, as are some of his earliest boards with metal edges and official results sheets from some of the earliest snowboard contests he won, dating as far back as 1982.
Sims ran a skateshop and founded Sims Skateboards in Santa Barbara, Calif., in 1976 and won the Skateboard World Championships in 1976, and was featured, along with Stacy Peralta, in the 1976 skateboard film “Freewheelin.’ ” Peralta and Christian Hosoi both turned pro for Sims shortly thereafter, and Peralta’s warp-tail board on Sims became the gold standard of skateboards at the time.
But his biggest marks would come in the snowboard industry: Sims and Chuck Barfoot collaborated on some of the earliest commercial snowboard designs beginning in 1977 before Sims set out on his own to start Sims Snowboards.
Sims is credited with inventing the first snowboards with metal edges and incorporating some of the earliest high-back binding systems. He also helped introduce some of the sport’s first halfpipe and freestyle competitions, and was the first to sponsor riders like Craig Kelly who would go on to bring the sport to new heights and mainstream attention.
Sims is survived by his wife Hilary, sister Margie Sims Klinger of Santa Barbara, sons Tommy and Shane, daughter Sarah and step daughters Alexa and Kylie Wagner.
By Colin Bane