When most middle-schoolers were more concerned with football games, ditching chemistry class and trying to impress girls, little tyke Tom Sims was experimenting with chiseling pieces of wood in his woodshop class. Little did the 7th grader know, he would grow up to become a pioneer of a sport that had yet to be invented. But at just 13 years old, Sims figured out how to combine his two favorite loves: skiing and skateboarding and whipped out the first snowboarder for snow, which he dubbed a “skiboard.” It was the 1960s and just a preview of great things to come for the man people have come to call the “Godfather of all board sports.”
Sims, who called Santa Barbara his home up until his death at age 62, died from a cardiac arrest on September 12, 2012.
Along with the advances he would bring to the industry, among them the first snowboarding halfpipe used in competition, the first metal-edge board and the first folding-highback bindings, Sims was known for his passion and being a champion for the sport that so few understood at its infancy. He advocated for snowboarders to be allowed to use the lifts at ski resorts.
Before his death, Sims would count other such accomplishments as launching his company, Sims Snowboards and Sims Snowboards, and turning into a well-respected, world snowboarding champion.
He even played James Bond as Roger Moore’s snowboarding stunt double in the 1985 James Bond “A View to a Kill.”
More poetically said, Tom Sims was to snowboarding what Steve Jobs was to Apple.
Rest in peace, brother.
View a gallery of Sims in his heyday, including his very first snowboard he made in the 7th grade.
True to his passion, Sims spent his last days still carving the streets on a longboard.
— by Sarah McClure, Images courtesy of Sims and Transworld Snowboarding