As a lifelong skateboarder, snowboarder, and surfer, Tom Sims contributed a host of innovations, from building and marketing the first longboards for skateboarding in 1975 to designing the first laminated multiple-ply maple decks in ’77, built by a water-ski manufacturer. Tom is often referred to as the inventor of snowboarding based on having designed what he called a skiboard—a combination of his two favorite sports, skateboarding and skiing—for his seventh grade woodshop class in 1963. He would also go on to create the first metal-edged snowboard in ’83, and later the first snowboarding halfpipe, the first freestyle snowboard, and the first pro model snowboard.
Also skateboarding’s world champion for ’75 and snowboarding’s world champion for ’83, Tom designed, tested equipment, and sponsored some of skateboarding’s biggest pros, including Christian Hosoi, Lonnie Toft, Brad Bowman, Bert LaMar, Dave Andrecht, Tony Hawk, Jeff Phillips, Steve Rocco, Kevin Staab, Pierre Andre, and onward while running his namesake companies Sims Skateboards and Sims Snowboards over the course of almost four decades. While the Sims brand was put under the management of Collective Licensing International in 2006, Tom remained highly involved with both Sims Skate and Snow and continued to design and test new equipment for both pastimes until his death in 2012. Few people throughout history can lay claim to greater contributions to either skateboarding or snowboarding.