‘I was looking for a skateboard alternative in the winter’
Thomas Edison invented the light bulb, Steve Jobs came with the iPhone. Albert Einstein invented the theory of relativity. In this list should be Tom Sims (right on the above picture). He is the inventor of the skiboard, which quickly changed into the snowboard.
From wooden plank to advanced snowboard
In 1963 it was quite boring on the slopes worldwide. Everyone went down on two long slats, snowboarding nobody had ever heard off. Skateboarding was still relatively unknown, but the 13-year-old Tom Sims was not doing anything else. His life on the east coast of America consisted of skateboarding and surfing. In the winter he was on skis just like everyone else.
Tom Sims with his very first version of the snowboard, which he made at the age of thirteen
Of course, the young adventurer also went to school. Fortunately, because there he came to an invention that is more important than the incandescent and relativity theory together. During woodworking, part of a subject that is similar to manual labor, he looked for a winter alternative of his skateboard. This laid the basis for the snowboard.
That’s what led me to build the first snowboard: not being able to skateboard on an icy street “, says Sims, who was looking for a combination between skiing, surfing and skateboarding. “So after that, it was just 12 months a year of boarding, whether it be skateboarding, snowboarding or surfing.” He called his board a skiboard.
Incidentally, the invention did not work at all, so an infinite process began in which he continually refined his design. In the same period he started his career as a designer of skateboards, which in the mid-70s really took shape under the name Sims Skateboards. With his company he was based in Whittier, a place in Alaska.
Tom Sims on a skateboard of his own brand
Sims Skateboards made professional skateboards that were also used in competitions. The brand sponsored skateboard icons Christian Hosoi and Craig Kelly among others. There was also extended to a first snowboard line, Sims Snowboards.
In the early 1980s, many ski resorts still saw snowboarding as a temporary craze, as far as they would allow it at all. But the development of the snow board continued and more and more competitions were organized. That started with slalom competitions, just like skiing, but soon Sims added spectacular elements from skateboarding to something that started to look like a sport.
Tom Sims, a hero on snowboard boots
Downhill runs were enriched with obstacles, tricks were rewarded with extra points and the halfpipe made its entry. “Sims was the catalyst of snowboarding and stood at the cradle of the disciplines that are nowadays the standard, such as the half pipe,” says Pat Bridges of Snowboarder Magazine.
Sims Snowboards was groundbreaking in the industry. First, the company created a snowboard with metal edges, which resulted in a smoother and more stable descent. Sims Snowboards also came first with high-backed snowboard bindings, the basis of the bindings that are still used. For women, the company combs with a smaller and lighter snowboard, also as first.
Tom Sims as James Bond
Tom Sims – who in 1975 already became world champion skateboarding – won in 1983 the not yet official World Cup Snowboarding. But the sport only really gained in popularity after the James Bond film A View to a Kill. Sims was the stuntman who replaced Roger Moore as 007 during the famous snowboard scene. From that moment on, snowboarding went quickly, both recreationally and professionally.
It was in 1998 that snowboarding was added to the Winter Olympics program.
Tom Sims was born on December 6, 1950. As a 2-year-old boy, he moved to the east coast of America. In 1960 he saw people skateboarding for the first time during a holiday in Los Angeles and he was sold immediately. On September 12, 2012, he died of the consequences of cardiac arrest. Until his death, he remained involved in the design and testing of new snowboard and skateboard gear.